Royal Thai Navy forces have begun testing a new
weapons-targeting system aimed at lowering costs by allowing spare parts
to be made in Thailand.
Vice Adm. Taweewut Pongpipat, assistant division
chief of staff, oversaw the live target practice at Koh Rin, one of
Pattaya’s Far Islands.
Coastal Defense Battalion 12 used the occasion to
fire eight 155mm Chinese artillery shells on an arced trajectory, aiming
and tracking the projectiles with a Raytheon Pathfinder MK targeting
system and Thales Group BOR A-550 portable radar system. Shells were
fired over a distance of 17 kilometers at the island’s “Big Rock,” a
popular scuba diving site littered with unexploded shells that
frequently miss the island.
Rear Adm. Tharathorn Khachitsuwan, commander of the
Air and Coastal Defense division, said the new firing system should not
only help the Navy shoot straighter, but pay less for spare parts, as
they can be manufactured inside the kingdom.
A key to the new system will be data synchronization
between the portable radar system and the Coastal Defense Command’s
existing target-detection system. The data link won the navy a
consolation prize in a National Research Council contest 11 years ago.
Taweewut said the navy will use results of this month’s target
practice in the development of radar-linking systems for weapons-firing
calculations. Such calculations will be sent wirelessly from a computer
to the artillery fire team, speeding firing time and improving accuracy,