Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha said today (Aug 12) that necessity needed to be considered in the purchase of the Harpoon missiles from the United States.
His comment came after the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) revealed on Aug 10 that the US State Department has made a determination approving the sale of the missiles to Thailand at estimated cost of US$24.9 million (about 828 million baht).
According to the US Navy, the RGM-84 Harpoon is an all- weather, over-the-horizon, anti-ship missile system that provides the Navy with a common missile for air and ship launches.
Gen Prayut said that it might be a previous purchase plan of the state agency and insisted that the procurement process has not yet been completed as the US has just approved it.
He said it is now the Defence Ministry’s task to follow up the procurement.
But he said the procurement has to take into consideration its necessity for duty.
He also said it was a budget matter and this he would like the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan to give information.
Meanwhile Gen Prawit assured that formal approval of the missile procurement has not yet been given.
He said the Armed Force still has Harpoon guided missiles in use.
According to US Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s news release, the US State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Thailand for RGM-84L Harpoon Block II Surface Launched Missiles. The estimated cost is $24.9 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on August 9, 2017.
“The Government of Thailand has requested the possible sale of up to five (5) RGM-84L Harpoon Block II Surface Launched Missiles and one (1) RTM-84L Harpoon Block II Exercise Missile. Also included are containers, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor representatives technical assistance, engineering and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated cost is $24.9 million.
“This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the U.S.-Thai strategic relationship and to improve the security of an important partner.
“The proposed sale will provide enhanced capabilities in effective defense of critical sea lines. Thailand intends to use the missiles on its DW3000 Class Frigate. The proposed sale of the Harpoon Block II missiles and support will increase the Royal Thai Navy’s maritime partnership potential. Thailand has purchased Harpoon missiles previously and will have no difficulty absorbing these missiles into its armed forces.
“The proposed sale will not alter the basic military balance in the region.
“The principal contractor will be the Boeing Company, St. Louis, MO. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.
“Implementation of this proposed sale will require annual trips to Thailand involving U.S. Government personnel and contractor representatives for technical reviews, support, and oversight for approximately five years.
“There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.
“This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.”