Following last week’s US approval of a Harpoon missile sale to Thailand, its navy disclosed that an additional batch of the Boeing-made ship-launched missiles are planned to be purchased as a follow-on contract.
While the five approved RGM-84L Harpoon Block II missiles are meant to be installed on the DW3000 class frigate (HTMS Tha Chin) ordered from South Korea, the follow-on order is intended for deployment on the HTMS Trang, the next inline ship of the DW3000 class, Royal Thai Navy spokesman Jumpol Lumpikanon was quoted in the Bangkok Post as saying.
The spokesperson said that the proposed procurement of the Harpoon missiles was regarded as part of the package agreed with South Korea for the building of the HTMS Tha Chin frigate in 2014. The purchase did not involve Prime Minister Prayut or Deputy Prime Minister Prawit. It was in the Tha Chin contract from the outset.
We did not buy missiles when the ship was at an earlier stage of construction. The ship is still being built in South Korea and is expected to be delivered next year, he added.
Adm Jumpol further said it was pointless to have frigates without weapons, adding Thailand does not intend to go to war with any country but such weapons are necessary for military drills.
The latest purchase request for the Harpoon missiles is the third lot of such weapons bought for Thai Navy ships. The first two lots were for the HTMS Rattanakosin and HTMS Sukhothai. "I would like to confirm that weapon purchases of the Royal Thai Navy are transparent and in line with our plan and schedule," he said.