Thailand conducts rare Gripen elephant walk

Thailand Gripen elephant walk
Royal Thai Air Force Gripen fighters assigned to 7 Wing conduct an elephant walk at Surat Thani air base in southern Thailand.

On November 11, 2020, the Royal Thai Air Force’s (RTAF’s) 7 Wing released rare images of a Gripen elephant walk. They show eleven Saab JAS-39C/D Gripen multirole fighters taxiing along the runway at Surat Thani Air Base in southern Thailand.

The elephant walk was conducted to demonstrate the large-scale mobilization of aircraft to protect Thailand's airspace. The demonstration included the RTAF's entire Gripen fleet, which is assigned exclusively to the 701 Squadron, along with a Saab 340 Erieye Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft from the 702 Squadron.

Thailand Gripen elephant walk

The RTAF has been operating the multi-role fighter since February 2011 with a fleet of seven single-seat JAS-39Cs and four two-seat JAS-39Ds. Thailand initially purchased 12 Gripens from Sweden, but one of them was lost in a plane crash in 2017. The 7 Wing Commander has already asked the defense to procure more aircraft or replace the lost one in order to have a fleet adequate to ensure a good level of training.

Written by Matteo Sanzani

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