Thailand expands ties with Israel through UAV acquisition

26 June 2018
The Royal Thai Army has taken delivery of four Hermes 450 UAVs, shown here in Brazilian Air Force colours. Source: Elbit Systems

The Royal Thai Army (RTA) has taken delivery of four Hermes 450 long-endurance tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from Israel’s Elbit Systems, further strengthening Thailand-Israel defence ties.

The UAVs are operated by the 21st Aviation Battalion at the Army Aviation Centre at Lopburi and are used for operations including target designation; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR); and mapping. The system is also expected to be used to track insurgency movements and drugs smuggling.

The procurement of the Hermes 450 UAVs and an associated ground-control system and remote video terminals was valued at around USD30 million and was finalised in 2017, following demonstrations and trials, Jane’s understands.

The 21st Aviation Battalion also operates four Searcher Mk II UAVs made by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and were procured for about USD12 million in the late 1990s.

Elbit Systems is understood to have provided training and support to the RTA in its operation of the Hermes UAVs but when approached by Jane’s the company declined to comment on the scope of its engagement.

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