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Army’s blimp may fly soon

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The army’s 350 million-baht blimp has never been put in service and it costs 25 million baht a year to maintain. Now, the army is about to spend 50 million more baht to finally get it into the air. 

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Army’s blimp may fly soon

The army's blimp is famous for all the wrong reasons.

It cost 350 million baht but it doesn't fly. It quickly lost its shape and began to leak, requiring major repairs. It costs 200,000-300,000 baht a month to fill the airship with helium to prevent more leaks.

Now, the army is about to give 50 million more baht to its American airship producer to finally get it into the air.

An army source said the army signed a contract with Aria International Inc on Sept 20 to make the surveillance airship stay up in the air.

Army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha ordered the contract because he does not want the airship to rest in its hangar in Pattani province any longer.

The contractor is confident it can make the airship fly by November.

The airship has been unable to fly since its delivery about two years ago. The army formally accepted the airship in July last year. Since then it has had to pay for its maintenance. The army has paid about 25 million baht altogether for helium refills in the past year.

The airship was ordered during the tenure of former army chief Anupong Paochinda who hoped it would help deter threats in the three southern border provinces. However, it was criticised for being unsuitable for security missions in the far South, as it could be shot down with ease.

Poor storage caused multiple leaks, and the supplier repaired it once. The cameras of the airship and their video streaming system are also out of order.

Adapted from a story by Wassana Nanuam in today's Bangkok Post.

blimp – a type of airship (see photo) เครื่องบินที่ลอยด้วยก๊าซ
famous – very well known มีชื่อเสียง
shape – the form of the outer edges or surfaces of something รูปร่าง, รูปทรง, โครงร่าง
leak – (of a liquid or gas) to flow out of a hole or crack รั่ว
repairs – fixing something that is broken or damaged การซ่อมบำรุง
helium – a very light gas that does not burn, often used to fill balloons and to freeze food ก๊าซฮีเลียม, ก๊าซเฉื่อยชนิดหนึ่งไม่มีสี ไม่มีกลิ่น
prevent – to stop somebody from doing something; to stop something from happening  ขัดขวาง, กัน, กีดขวาง
producer – a person, a company or a country that makes goods or materials, or grows or makes food ผู้ผลิต
source – someone who gives information แหล่งข่าว
contract – an official written agreement สัญญา
surveillance – the process of carefully watching a person or place การเฝ้าตรวจตราอย่างเข้มงวด
hangar – a large building in which aircraft are kept โรงเก็บเครื่องบิน
contractor – a person or company whose job is to do work for another person, organisation, company, etc. ผู้รับเหมา
confident – being certain of your abilities or of having trust in people, plans, or the future มั่นใจ
delivery – the act of taking goods, letters, etc. to the people they have been sent to  การส่ง, การส่งสินค้า
formally – officially; following an agreed or official way of doing things  อย่างเป็นทางการ
maintenance – work that is done to keep something such as a building, machine, or piece of equipment repaired and in good condition การซ่อมบำรุง
tenure – the period of time during which someone has an important job ช่วงระยะเวลาที่ดำรงตำแหน่ง
deter – to make someone decide not to do something ขัดขวาง, ยับยั้ง, ป้องกัน
threat – a danger อันตราย
border – the official line separating two areas, regions or countries  เขตแดน อาณาเขต
criticise – to say that you disapprove of somebody/something; to say what you do not like or think is wrong about somebody/something วิจารณ์, ติเตียน,จับผิด
unsuitable – not right or appropriate for a particular person, purpose or occasion ไม่เหมาะสม
mission – an important job, especially a military one, that someone is sent somewhere to do ภาระกิจ, หน้าที่, งาน
with ease – done easily อย่างง่ายดาย, อย่างสบาย
storage – the putting and keeping of things in a special place for use in the future การเก็บ
multiple – many มากมาย
streaming – playing a video continuously from the start rather than needing to wait until the whole of the material has been downloaded
out of order – not working correctly ซึ่งไม่สามารถใช้งานได้

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