According to a senior official from US defense giant Lockheed Martin, Thailand’s interest in the F-35 stealth fighters is genuine, clearance to purchase the jets however is a matter for the U.S. government.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Singapore Airshow, Tim Cahill, Lockheed Martin’s senior vice president for Global Business, said, Thailand had expressed interest, but there was “nothing official that I am aware of that has come relative to that.”
In January, Thailand had set aside nearly $413 million for procuring 4 F-35s, with Air Chief Marshal Napadej Dhupatemiya saying Thailand would be interested in buying as many as eight F-35s.
“This will be a U.S. government policy decision,” said Cahill. “I think there is some promise there, but I honestly don’t know where the U.S. government will come down on that.”
A spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said, the department does not confirm or comment on proposed defence transfers or sales until they have been formally notified to the US Congress.
The United States sells the F-35 only to its closest allies.
In the Indo-Pacific region, it has sold the jet to Australia, Japan, South Korea and Singapore.