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Thailand’s interest in Lockheed Martin’s F-35 stealth fighters is genuine

A senior Lockheed Martin executive has acknowledged that Thailand’s interest in Lockheed Martin’s F-35 stealth fighters is genuine, but said clearance to buy them 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, confirmed Thailand had expressed interest, but said there was “nothing official” that he was aware of that has “come relative to that.

”In January, the Royal Thai Air Force set aside about US$413 million for procuring four of the jets. Earlier, ACM Napadej Dhupatemiya said Thailand would be interested in buying as many as eight F-35s.

The F-35, one of the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft, is considered a highly sensitive export, sold only to the United States’ closest allies.

In the Asia-Pacific region, only Australia, Japan, South Korea and Singapore fly the jet.

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