Army seals deal to buy US armour
The army has struck a deal to buy 37 "refurbished" Stryker armoured vehicles, worth US$80 million, from the United States.
"Thailand is the first country the US has sold [the Strykers] to," an army source said.
The M1126 Stryker eight-wheeled armoured vehicles are touted as a "world class" armament and have been used on many battlefields, according to the source. The model will remain in service for the US army until 2030.
Meanwhile, the package includes communication systems as well as weapons, the hangar, practice field development, autoparts and maintenance.
Moreover, the US army will give 23 more Strykers to the Thai army for free, bringing the number to 60 in total.
It was earlier expected the Thai army might make a further purchase of Chinese-made vehicles, but army chief Apirat Kongsompong managed to secure a deal with the US, the source said.
Gen Apirat has attended many military training programmes and activities in the US. The relationship between the Thai and US armies is said to be strong under his leadership, with the participation of Thai soldiers in a joint training exercise called Lightning Forge 2019 in Hawaii among activities designed to cement the bond. The Strykers will be sent to the Chachoengsao-based 11th Infantry Division.