The Royal Thai Air Force has upgraded two of its 30-40 year-old F5 TH aircraft which will being them on par with the Gripen 39 C/D fighters.
The upgrades to two aircraft include German IRIS-T and Israeli Python 4 missiles, Italian radar and smart bombs and they can work just as well as Gripen 39 C/D fighter jets, air force chief Maanat Wongwat told the media in Bangkok today.
"Following the successful upgrade of two jets, we plan to upgrade 14 more of them in stages," he said.
The modernization program is expected to be completed in 2022 at a cost of 5.2 billion baht ($172 million), local media reported Friday.
According to the official, the country decided to modernize decades-old planes owing to lack of funds to procure new Gripen jets. "We indeed want to add a fleet of Swedish-made Gripen to our existing 12 fighter jets, but we just don't have a large enough budget," the air force chief admitted.