The Royal Thai Air Force is to arm its Northrop F-5 fighters with IRIS-T short-range air-to-air missiles, following the signature of a repeat order with German manufacturer Diehl Defence.
Noting that Bangkok has previously acquired the infrared-guided weapon for its Saab Gripen fighters and also subsequently its Lockheed Martin F-16 fleet, Diehl Defence notes: "The new procurement plans to integrate the missile onto the F-5, making IRIS-T a standard armament of the Royal Thai Air Force."
Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that Thailand still operates 30 F-5E fighters and four B/F-model trainers, with these aged at between 30 and 40 years. It records its air force inventory as also including 53 F-16A/Bs and 11 Gripen C/Ds.
The latest Thai order represents the first integration of the IRIS-T with the aged F-5 platform. The weapon is currently operational on the F-16, Gripen, Boeing F/A-18, Eurofighter Typhoon and Panavia Tornado for partner nations Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden, plus Thailand and additional export customers Austria, Saudi Arabia and South Africa, Diehl Defence says.