Under a new memorandum of understanding (MoU), Czech defence companies will benefit from deeper access to Thai defence markets while the two countries also discussed the possibility of expanding Thai fighter pilot training.

Signed in Bangkok at the end of March 2024, the Czech Minister of Defence Jana Černochová stated “Supporting the Czech defense industry is the goal of every trip abroad, because our companies can offer a wide range of top products and technologies. That’s why I also visited Thailand, which is geographically distant from us, but it makes sense for us to deepen co-operation with this country even more.”

During her trip, Černochová visited the Defence Technology Institute (DTI) – a Thai Government institution specialising in strengthening national defence capabilities through innovative technological solutions.

Since January, DTI has been co-operating with Tatra Trucks, a Czech armoured vehicles manufacturer, and as part of defence co-­operation with the republic, Thailand received a prototype of a Tatra multi-purpose vehicle.

“Tatra vehicles are used by the Army of the Czech Republic, but also by the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic. They are a top product in their category, which has been tested in a number of demanding environments around the world, and I am glad that Thailand is considering the purchase of more cars,” Černochová attested.

Czech co-operation with Thailand predates this MoU agreement. The Central European nation has trained Thai pilots in their Tactical Simulation Centre, which is part of the Aviation Training Centre of the state enterprise LOM Prague in Pardubice.

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In this facility, Thai pilots train on the JAS-39 Gripen multi-role combat aircraft simulator and on the F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft simulator. According to GlobalData intelligence, the Royal Thai Air Force operates 11 Saab JAS 39C/D aircraft, acquired between 2011-13 as well as 51 F-16A/B units procured between 1988 and 2005.

Since 2015, a total of 12 of these weekly courses have taken place. LOM Prague is also negotiating the possibility of building a simulation centre directly in the Kingdom.