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​RTAF Wing Commander Chareon “Tonic” Watanasrimongkol, who has the experience of participating in Pitch Black exercise for a long time now, talks about his experiences and the objective of the exercise. 

Exercise Pitch Black 2014, the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF’s) largest and most complex air exercise, was held in the Northern Territory from 1-22 August 2014.​

​Royal Thai Air Force Gripen participated in an Air to Air formation with Mirage 2000-9 from the United Arab Emirates Air Force, FA-18F Super Hornet and an F/A-18A Hornet from the Royal Australian Air Force during Pitch Black 2014.

Image Courtesy: Department of Defence, Australia​​

Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) Wing Commander Nattavut Duangsungnaen briefs Jessee Dorset of ABC Channel2 about Gripen and talks about his experience at Exercise Pitch Black 2014.

“We have to fly very far and we have to stay in the air for quite a long time. Without the three fuel tanks, we cannot fly that long,” explains Commander Duangsungnaen while giving a rundown of Gripen parts to the ABC journalist.

According to a report in Flightglobal, the RTAF Gripen have been conducting primarily air-to-air missions at Pitch Black 2014, carrying simulated AMRAAM and AIM-9X AAMs for blue force offensive counter air and red force defensive counter air missions.

The six participating Gripen have operated without any tanker support at the exercise. The fighter aircraft instead use three auxiliary tanks for their two daily missions of up to 2.5 hours over the vast Bradshaw and Delamere Ranges south of Darwin.

Exercise Pitch Black 2014 ends on 22 August.

RTAF Gripen7 (01 Photo Stefan Kalm).jpg

Recently, there has been an increasing interest in Gripen across the globe. South East Asia, for example, represents an important market with huge partnership potential for Saab, Gripen’s parent company.

The interest in the Gripen fighter system has been triggered by an array of factors.  Kaj Rosander, Marketing Manager, Saab elaborates some of these factors in Spirit, a defence and security magazine.

According to Rosander, performance alone is not sufficient. There is an increasing cost consciousness and hence Gripen, with the perfect combination of performance and life cycle cost, holds an advantage.

Asian countries like Philippines and Malaysia currently own aircraft that are about tobecome obsolete, giving way to a large potential market.  Also, as a part of their currentpackages, these countries have obtained the aircraft and not the technology. Saab’s strategy includes true technology transfer. This helps the operators with efficient maintenance of the system as well as with building self sufficiency.

Among the South East Asian countries, Thailand is a proud owner of a complete air defence package provided by Saab. With the delivery of the first of a dozen Gripen C/D in 2011, Thailand took its first step towards building its defense system with technology that is modern, inter connected and information driven, writes Michael Miller of Spirit magazine.

As a part of the Gripen package, Thailand also received two Saab Erieye Airborne early Warning and Control (AEW&C) systems, based on the Saab 340  airframe. A number of interlinked ground stations around the country can receive ...

Saabcommander challenge.jpg

On the occasion of “Defense & Security 2013”, Thailand, Saab launched a Quiz Combat for Thailand that tests contenders’ knowledge of the options available on the battlefield. The battlefield sits on 

The contest, which was launched in mid-October has received good response with over 4500 visitors to the site, 2600 contestants from 72 cities, towns and townships in Thailand participating in the contest. So far, the contest has produced over 50 winners. 

Three lucky winners would get to fly a Gripen simulator. The questions are designed to test Thai defence enthusiast’s knowledge of defence concepts and products.  Besides a flight in Gripen simulator, there is a host of other exciting prizes to be won which include Saab collectibles and limited edition mementoes.

“Through the unique Saab Commander contest, Thai people will learn more about the complex technologies that make their defence and security both uncompromising and effective, and better appreciate the history of Swedish military technologies”, says Dan Enstedt, President & CEO, Saab Asia Pacific.

Check out the contest at the Saab Commander website.​

Saab will participate in Defense and Security 2013​, Asia's most important military event next month. Gripen would be one of the main air domain products on display at the event.

Defense and Security 2013 is an event that covers land, air and sea military equipment, defense technology and internal security. The event is based on four concepts: static display, technical and special seminars, live demonstrations and networking. 

Saab will be participating in full strength at Defense & Security 2013 at Hall 8, Stands H01-08 and G01-08 at IMPACT Convention and Exhibition Centre, Bangkok, Thailand. This is the tenth anniversary show of Defence & Security 2013.

For Saab, Asia Pacific is a key market with large growth and partnership potential. The company is looking forward to significantly enhance its presence in order to participate in opportunities across the region. Saab recently inaugurated its Asia pacific office in Bangkok. 

Defense and Security 2013 will be organized in Bangkok between November  4-7, 2013.

Thai News Agency (TNA) reported recently that with the delivery of the final three Gripens, the Royal Thai Air Force aspires to become a leading force in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) by 2019.

According to a report in, General Thanasak told journalists that other countries have praised the Royal Thai Air Force's procurement of Gripen fighters, and that it will integrate its information system with the Royal Thai Army and the Royal Thai Navy in the future.

On 11 September, the Royal Thai Air Force declared the Gripen Integrated Air Defense System commissioned as a fully operational part of the air force at its home base, Wing 7 in Surat Thani. The Gripen Integrated Air Defense System (GIADS) paves the way to develop RTAF’s network to connect all three military services so that they are able to jointly operate under the concept of Network Centric Operations (NCO).

“The Gripen fighters will become part of Asean's peacekeeping forces when the Asean Community (AC) is formed by 2015,” General Thanasak said.

Read the full story:  Royal Thai Air Force Targets To Become Regional Leading Force By 2019

Just five and a half years after the signing ceremony in Stockholm February 2008, the undertaking by Sweden to provide the Royal Thai Air Force with 12 Gripen C/D aircraft, two SAAB 340 AEW, radar and other systems, training and on-site support in a project called Peace Suvarnabhumi nears completion.


Members from Royal Thai Army, Royal Thai Navy, Royal Thai Air Force, the Police Force and the Swedish Ambassador Klas Molin in front of the Gripen fleet

Supreme Commander of the Thai Armed Forces, General Thanasak Patimaprakorn and Thai Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong

Blessing one of the newely delivered Gripens 

Lunch at the inauguration ceremony

Swedish Ambassador to Thailand, Mr. Klas Molin hands over a Gripen model to Supreme Commander of the Thai Armed Forces, General Thanasak Patimaprakorn


Despite the technological and logistic complexity, geographical distance and time difference, this project has run on time, thanks to dedicated stakeholders and skilled staff in both countries. It is the first large defense project by Sweden in Asia. 

The latest stamp of approval of this bilateral success came on 11 September as the Royal Thai Air Force declared the Gripen Integrated Air Defense System commissioned as a fully operational part of the air force at its home base, Wing 7 in Surat Thani.

General Thanasak Patimaprakorn, Supreme Commander of the Royal Thai Armed Forces, officiated over the ceremony along with RTAF Commander ACM Prajin Juntong and high ranking representatives from the Royal Thai Army and the Royal Thai Navy, watched by Thai and Swedish guests, diplomats, ...

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