Meetings in Bangkok last week between Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis and Thai Minister of Defence Prawit Wongsuwan have resulted in speculation that a number of areas of collaboration in military aerospace fields are being considered.
The two nations have set up a working group to examine the issue, according to the Thai government, with an early focus being on the potential to establish an aerospace assembly plant and a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility. Also under consideration, according to informed sources, is the creation of a regional centre for flight simulation and training.
Given the reports late last year that Thailand has apparently expressed an interest in acquisition of an undisclosed number of L-39NG trainers from Aero Vodochody – and the fact that it already operates some 15 L-39ZA/MP ALBATROS (according to the World Defence Almanac 2018), some of which are being replaced by 12 Korean T-50THs – the flight training centre makes a degree of sense. Further details, however, have not yet been made public.
Much will depend, of course, on factors outside the direct control of the potential industrial partners – such as location, preferential tax regimes, the ability to absorb advanced technologies rapidly, etc. But the proposal has considerable merit from a market development perspective and MONCh believes this to be a story worth following over the coming months.