Thailand has selected Elbit Systems and Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) to upgrade 31 Northrop F-5 Tiger fighters.

The $73 million contract will be signed once the Israeli companies have prepared a finance package. Thailand's government is seeking to use barter deals to pay for at least part of the upgrade.

Elbit will act as prime contractor with IAI's Lahav division acting as subcontractor. Details of the upgrade package will be finalised shortly and it is planned that the upgrade will begin by the end of this year. Typically, the Israeli companies equip the aircraft with new cockpits and improved navigation and weapons-aiming systems.

The Israeli companies have wide experience of F-5 upgrades, including Singapore's F-5S/T programme, while last year Elbit, IAI and Singapore Technologies Aerospace won a deal to upgrade 48 F-5s for Turkey. Elbit also updated 38 Aero L-39 trainers for Thailand.

Source: Flight International