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Thai Countertrade Deal: Wings For Wings!

The Thai military, which last fought a war in 1987 against tiny neighbor Laos, wants to spend $6.6 billion on upgrades over the next nine years, according to their defense minister. 

The first stage of the three-part planes, ships and tanks spending plan would focus on repairing and replenishing weapons, improving civilian rescue operations, and economic development.

Defense Minister Thammarak Isarangura said barter is the country�s top priority for procurement. And he has full backing of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who champions barter deals so they can reduce the country�s trade deficit. Their goal, trading Thailand�s abundant farm goods for costly hi-tech military products.

During trips to Stockholm and Moscow last year he floated the idea of trading Thai chicken for fighter jets either from Russia or Sweden, despite the air force�s preference for USA�s F-16s.

�They both have wings and they can both fly,� Thaksin says.