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Thai Navy Seeking Long-Range Maritime Surveillance Drone

The Royal Thai Navy is looking to acquire four medium-altitude long-endurance drones to increase maritime surveillance and support tactical missions, Shephard Media reported.

The country’s naval acquisition authority released a report this month soliciting tenders for the 3.96 billion Thai baht ($118.5 million) project.

There are currently four contenders for the contract: two from Israel (Israel Aerospace Industries’ Heron TP and Elbit Systems’ Hermes 900), the Chinese Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group’s Wing Loong II, and the American General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper.

Thai Navy Drone Acquisitions

In December, the Thai Navy also introduced into service an RQ-21A Blackjack unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system that will perform maritime patrols and reconnaissance missions along the country’s coasts.

The Boeing-made drone was designed to meet the US Navy’s requirement for a small tactical unmanned air system. Thailand is the first country in the Indo-Pacific to operate the drone, which is also used by the US, Canada, the Netherlands, and Poland.

The Asian country is also preparing to procure two additional Camcopter S-100 UAVs from Austria-based Schiebel. It can operate during adverse weather conditions throughout the day and has a range of 200 kilometers (134 miles). The system doesn’t require a prepared area or supporting launch equipment. 

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