Navy to sign UAV contract

Navy to sign UAV contract

The Royal Thai Navy will sign a contract to procure seven Israeli-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) worth over 4 billion baht.

Vice Adm Pokkrong Monthatphalin, navy spokesman, revealed that the navy had chosen seven Hermes 900 UAVs from Elbit Systems, an international defence electronics firm based in Israel. The firm offered the non-tariff price of US$120 million or approximately 4 billion baht.

The contract signing will take place at the Bang Chang naval air base in Rayong.

The procurement contract will be drafted by a committee before being presented to the commander-in-chief Adm Somprasong Nilsamai. The navy, Elbit Systems Ltd and the National Anti-Corruption Commission will be the three signatories to the procurement contract, Vice Adm Pokkrong said.

He also added that the navy will equip the aircraft with advanced defence technology to improve its ability to protect the country's sovereignty and maritime territory.

The Hermes 900 UAV boasts a range of high-performance sensors, allowing it to detect ground or maritime targets over a wide spectral range. It can be operated for up to 36 hours and the service ceiling is 30,000 feet (9,144 metres).

The UAVs will be equipped with hardware and software defence technology which are applicable for prospective attack missions, said a navy source.

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