RTA Invests In Strategic Rocket Development Project

This news came to the public around April 07 but I just saw the cabinet approval on the last meeting of the last government.

Thais embark on native missile programme

London – Thailand has decided to develop and produce rockets and missiles in a radical shift towards building an indigenous defence industry, Jane’s Defence Weekly reported Thursday.

The specialist publication said the programme would lift Thailand beyond its current capacity for producing explosives, ammunition and small arms under licence as well as modernising and repairing aircraft and armoured vehicles.

Citing an internal Thai defence ministry document, Jane’s said Thailand will start by developing a multiple-launch rocket (MLR) with a range of 80 kilometres (48 miles).

There is already a project underway to develop a 160 milimetre MLR with a 40-kilometre range, it said.

Other projects include a “strategic rocket with turbojet engine guided by global position system and inertial navigation system,” it added.

Such a rocket is significant because it implies efforts to develop a surface-to-surface missile with a range at the upper limit of the voluntary Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

The MTCR, a global disarmament group involving the United States and 33 other members, was established in 1987 to control exports of missiles which can deliver weapons of mass destruction.

The Thai armed forces do not currently have any surface-to-surface missiles in their inventory, it added.

The ministry document says funding pressures on the defence budget and encouragement by unspecified sectors for greater self-sufficiency is driving the new programme.

Thailand’s King Bhumipol Adulyadej, who enjoys strong support from the armed forces which overthrew the Thai government in a bloodless coup last September, has called for a “sufficiency economy,” the weekly said

Jane’s added that the new research and development programme was launched before the coup but gained formal approval when it was submitted to the country’s Defence Council about a month afterwards.

Agence France Presse

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/breakingnews/read.php?newsid=30031836
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RTA is already operates only one type of multiple-launching rocket system. It’s a Type-85 on Type-85 AFV. This a Chinese-made system that procured many years ago.

RTA Type-85

According to the news, we can divided this project into 3 steps.

– 160 milimetre MLR with a 40-kilometre range

I think they want to develop something like LAROM system from Romania. This might be the Type-85 replacement.

– multiple-launch rocket (MLR) with a range of 80 kilometres (48 miles)

It may look like M270 MRLS from USA but it might less sophisticated compare to the technology RTA has.

– Strategic rocket with turbojet engine guided by global position system and inertial navigation system

This will be the top of the project. As the news said, RTA want to develop the rocket with a range at the upper limit of MTCR. The old MTCR regulation limit to 300 km.

We still do not have more information about this project in this time. So we may wait and see.

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