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Thailand declares Gripens operational

July 12, 2011 at 10:38 AM

LINKOPING, Sweden, July 12 (UPI) -- The Thai air force has officially declared as operational its new air defense system from Saab of Sweden.

The system consists of Gripen fighters and Saab 340 Erieye airborne early warning and control aircraft.

FMV, Sweden's defense materiel administration, and Thailand signed an agreement in 2008 for six Gripen C/D multi-role fighter aircraft. The order also included one Saab 340 Erieye AEW, a single Saab 340 for transport purposes and a ground-based command-and-control system.

Six more Gripen C fighters and another Saab 340 Erieye AEW were ordered in 2010 and will be delivered in 2013.

The training of Thai personnel by Saab began in 2009.

Present at the Thai Wing 7 base in Surat Thani is also a support group with a number of technicians and pilots from the Swedish air force that provides support during the daily operations while the Thai air force is introducing their new air defense system.

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