U.S. ally Thailand received 20 more Stryker infantry carrier vehicles Feb. 15 at Laem Chabang, a port city in the Southeast Asian nation.
The first partner nation to purchase the American-made Strykers via foreign military sales, Thailand is pursuing a military modernization program aimed at increasing its capability, updating its inventory and boosting its profile in the region.
The February delivery was the country's latest U.S. foreign military sales case, totaling nearly $200 million, and purchased through the Security Assistance Command.
"The goal was to replace the less capable M-113 tracked armored vehicles with a modern multirole medium-weight armored fighting vehicle," Jerrid Spinks, USASAC's country program manager for Thailand, said.
Spinks has been negotiating foreign military cases for a decade, most of which have been focused on U.S. allies throughout the Pacific.
He said not only does the Stryker fit the bill to upgrade the Royal Thai Army's inventory of aging M-113s, but the purchase will allow Thailand to plan, train and operate more effectively with U.S. forces in support of mutual interests.
As a key security ally in Asia, Thailand's stability and growth are important to maintaining peace in the region. Potential security threats in the Southeast Asian nation include civil unrest, occasional border disputes, domestic terrorism, natural disasters, human smuggling and illicit drug trafficking.
The United States and Thailand established relations in 1818, formalizing diplomatic relations with the signing of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce in 1833. It was America's first treaty with a country in Asia, making Thailand arguably America's oldest friend in the region.
"This case is an excellent example of U.S foreign policy at work," Spinks said. "You have a partner nation who has a need. We're able to supply that need and boost our partner's capability, which in turn, enables us to work more closely with them, syncing our training and coalition operations. At first glance, it's a simple military transaction. But the alliances we build today are critical to our national security interests, and will have lasting impacts on our Army's readiness.
An additional 30 Stryker vehicles are being repaired and reset at Anniston Army Depot for delivery to Thailand by the end of this year. These vehicles will be brought back to mission-capable condition by depot employees and General Dynamics Land Systems.