Surface Forces: Thailand Considers the Source

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August 22, 2017: Thailand is buying four U.S. Harpoon (RGM-84L Block II) anti-ship missiles, along with one training missile, maintenance equipment and technical services all for $25 million. These will be used on the first of two DW3000 frigates Thailand is building in South Korea and Thailand. The DW 3000 is based on South Korea KDX 1 frigates which were the first high-seas warships designed and built in South Korea and entered service between 1996 and 2000. The DW 3000 for Thailand is optimized for ASW (anti-submarine warfare) and is a 3,700 ton warship with a top speed of 52 kilometers an hour, a crew of 136 and with a hull and superstructure with stealthy features. Weapons include a 76mm cannon, six torpedo tubes, eight ESSM anti-aircraft missiles, ASROC torpedoes, two Phalanx anti-missile systems, two remotely controlled 30mm autocannon, eight Harpoon anti-ship missiles and a helicopter (including a hanger)

The 663 kg (1,460 pound) ship launched Harpoon has a 222 kg (487 pound) warhead and a range of 220 kilometers. It approaches the target low, at about 860 kilometers an hour. GPS gets the missile to the general vicinity of the target, then onboard radar takes over to identify and hit the target. The Harpoon has successful combat experience going back two decades. Block II Harpoons have an INS backup guidance system along with several improvements to the software that make it useful against land targets as well as in coastal areas where there are a lot of islands and other geographical clutter.

China is offering the current military government in Thailand cheaper warships and weapons but despite criticism from the U.S. (for overthrowing an elected government) Thailand still prefers Western style weapons, which South Korea is an increasingly active builder and exporter of. The DW 3000 deal was made in 2014, after the military took control of the Thai government.

 

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