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Delivery of a Complete Air Force

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Sweden has supplied Thailand with a small scale air force – a complex project involving cultural differences and long distances. In spite of all this, we can safely say that the project has been a success. So says Per Nilsson, who led the Thailand project at FMV.

 In October 2013, three Gripen aircraft took off from FMV’s facilities at Malmen, near Linköping, destined for Thailand. This marked the final phase of FMV’s delivery of materiel to the Royal Thai Air Force.

In October 2013, three Gripen aircraft took off from FMV’s facilities at Malmen, near Linköping, destined for Thailand. This marked the final phase of FMV’s delivery of materiel to the Royal Thai Air Force.

12 combat aircraft with ancillary equipment, one transport aircraft, two airborne early warning systems, one command and control system and one missile system are now in place as a result of agreements reached between Sweden and Thailand in 2007 and 2010.

Gunnar Lindberg from FMV’s Test and Evaluation Division coordinated all deliveries.

- I had a long action list, which we quickly worked through. Test flights, technical issues and diplomatic contacts are but a few of the points on the list.

There are a lot of agencies involved in a project of this nature. The Swedish Defence and Security Export Agency, who gave FMV the task, the Armed Forces and industry are important players – and in the middle sits FMV and the project leader, Per Nilsson.

He says that the customer, the Royal Thai Air Force, has been full of praise for the delivery of both the actual equipment and the services linked to the agreements.

- We have had very positive feedback and praise from the customer because we have delivered all the equipment and services when we said we would, says Per Nilsson.

Cultural differences

When the Thai project began, FMV already had experience of Gripen export projects to Hungary and the Czech Republic. However, Thailand is not in Europe.

- We weren’t really prepared for the cultural differences. One obvious example was our use of delegated personal responsibility. In Thailand there is more focus on collective responsibility and committee work, says Per Nilsson. And the best advice is: be patient and try to understand

There are three elements to the Swedish undertaking: the 12 Gripen aircraft and associated equipment, the training of pilots and technicians, and an element involving technology transfer.

Sweden is transferring the latest technology in several areas to Thailand, e.g. composite technology, logistics management and geo-data.

We are contributing to the development of aerospace and defence expertise in Thailand and this will enable the Royal Thai Air Force to reach its goal of becoming one of the best air forces amongst the ASEAN nations, says Per Nilsson.


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Published: 2014-05-27 13:21. Changed: 2014-05-27 15:01. Responsible: Show e-mail address.