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Thailand's DTI outlines joint venture plans

Thailand’s Defence Technology Institute (DTI) – a research and development (R&D) under the Thai Ministry of Defence (MoD) – has announced plans to establish joint ventures (JVs) across four domains in a bid to boost indigenous capability and expand defence exports.

The DTI is looking to establish the JVs with either local or foreign firms in areas including offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), 4×4 light tactical vehicles, and firearms and related ammunition.

Government support to establish the JVs was formally provided in late January by Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who is also defence minister, although the amount of funding and investment available for the initiative has not yet been confirmed.

Under the plan, the DTI wants to invest alongside private-sector JV partners in advancing local capability to develop and produce the four military systems and provide related equipment support services. Training and skills development is also part of the plan.

The DTI is aiming to finalise the JVs in 2021, with the aim to start work on the required military platforms in 2022. Equipment produced under the JVs will look to meet both Thai military and defence-export requirements, with the latter likely focused, at least initially, on opportunities in Southeast Asia.

General Porpol Maneerin, the chairman of the DTI, said in comments reported by local media that the plan is consistent with the government intention to develop the national defence industry, which has been designated as one of 12 national ‘S-curve’ priority sectors.

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