SHAH ALAM: The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) has taken delivery of the first out of seven Dornier Do 228 surveillance aircraft upgraded under the US Maritime Security Initiative (MSI). Yes its the same programme which funded RMAF upgrade of its CN-235 MSA and the RMN ScanEagle UAS.
The first aircraft arrived at the RTN Wing 1, Naval Aviation Division at Ban Chang District in Rayong Province located in eastern Thailand. The 228 was flown to Ruag Aerospace Services facility in Germany with another example in early 2021 to undergo the upgrading process.
The US government in 2020 awarded a $40.2 million contract to RUAG to upgrade the mission suite and avionics systems of seven RTN Dornier Do 228 reconnaissance aircraft. The upgraded aircraft – already some 20 years old – are expected to be use for another 15 and 20 years.
The upgrade involved the installation the Telephonics RDR 1550B surface water and weather radar and FLIR Systems Star SAFIRE II Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) turret under the fuselage. This will allow the fleet to to carry out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions and to create a Common Operation Picture maps.
Late in January, RTN also displayed its first China-made FK-3 air defence system stationed in Chonburi province also located in eastern Thailand. According to Janes,
the FK-3 is the export variant of the CASIC’s HQ-22 medium- to long-range semi-active radar homing/radio command guidance air-defence system. It retains the domestic version’s top speed of Mach 6, although its maximum range of 100 km is significantly shorter than the Chinese HQ-22’s maximum range of 170 km.
RTN took delivery of the air defence system – comprising of one command and radar vehicle eacha and three transporter-erector vehicles. RTN is seeking three more battalion of FK-3 air defence system.
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