Thailand and China have embarked on a series of joint military exercises involving their air forces, armies and navies. The exercises, taking place from July to September, aim to enhance cooperation and foster regional peace and stability.
The first exercise, called “Falcon Strike 2023,” commenced on July 9 and is an annual joint air combat exercise aimed at strengthening collaboration between the Thai and Chinese air forces. The opening ceremony took place at the Udon Thani air force base and will continue until July 21. Falcon Strike was previously conducted in 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019, before being paused due to the pandemic.
Thai aircraft participating in the exercise include Gripen 39 C/D, Alpha Jets, and Saab 340 AEW fighters, while China has deployed J-10C/S, JH-7 A/AII, J-11B/S, and KJ-500 fighters.
Following Falcon Strike, from August 16 to September 2, the special warfare units of the Thai and Chinese armies will engage in the Joint Strike 2023 exercise in Lop Buri province. This will be followed by “Blue Strike,” a joint naval exercise, scheduled from September 3-10 in Chon Buri, Rayong, and Chanthaburi provinces. The Blue Strike exercise takes place every two years, with Thailand and China alternating as hosts.
In preparation for the naval exercise, Chinese warships and amphibious landing ships are expected to arrive at Sattahip in Chon Buri province on August 31.