The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) has officially declared its new air defence system, comprising Gripen fighter and Saab 340 Erieye AEW aircraft, operational.

The first Saab 340 Erieye AEW and the Saab 340 transport aircraft arrived in December 2010, and around six Thai ex F-16 pilots were trained to fly the Gripen and its radar and weapons systems.

The order included one Saab 340 Erieye AEW, a single Saab 340 for transport purposes and a ground based Command and Control system.

The RTAF FMV, Sweden’s Defence Materiel Administration, had signed an agreement in 2008 for the delivery of six Gripen C/D multirole fighter aircraft.

The Gripen will replace RTAF’s outgoing F-5 aircraft.

Delivery of the second RTAF order will be completed in 2013.