Thailand May Become a Major Market for Chinese Weapons

After the FD-2000, the export version of Chinese HQ-9 surface-to-air missile, beat the competition — the US Patriot and Russian S-300 air defense systems, Thailand may become the next overseas market for missile systems and other weaponry from China, reports US-based Duowei News.

During the Defense & Security 2013 exhibition which took place at the IMPACT Exhibition and Convention Center of Bangkok from Nov. 4 until Thursday, the FD-2000 was presented to the Royal Thai Armed Forces along with other advanced weapon systems such as the FL-3000N short-range Close-in Weapon System and the FK-1000 Short To Medium Range Air Defense System designed by China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corporation based in Beijing.

A source from China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corporation told Duowei News that Thailand is not only interested in purchasing the FD-2000 from China, but will also purchase the FL-3000N for its navy, which is the export version of China's HQ-10 air defense system, a licensed copy of the Russian S-300PMU-1 air defense missile designed to detect, track, and destroy incoming ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and low-flying aircraft.

Currently, the FL-3000N serves aboard Liaoning, China's first aircraft carrier and Type 056 guided-missile frigates of the People's Liberation Army Navy. If the FL-3000N is successfully exported to Thailand, the attacking range of the Royal Thai Navy will be extended to 150 kilometers. In addition to various missile systems designed for the Royal Thai Army and Navy, Poly Technologies is also trying to sell its CS-VP3 Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected armored personnel carrier to the kingdom.
Representatives from Poly Technologies told Duowei News that the armored personnel carrier is critical to the Royal Thai Army's anti-terrorist operations in the Patani region in southern Thailand. The CS-VP3 had already won contracts from two African nations since its production in 2012. China has also agreed to jointly develop a DTI-1 Multiple Launch Rocket System for the Royal Thai Army based on its own WS-1.

Despite the fact that Turkey may be blocked from purchasing a FD-2000 by the United States, Duowei News stated that the confidence of developing nations towards the Chinese weapon system had been boosted. Thailand has been one of the major users of Chinese weaponries through the purchase of four Type 053HT guided-missile frigates in 1988. In the 21st century, Thailand still has the potential to become China's biggest overseas market after Pakistan.

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