This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 7/24/2018
The Thai military and defense agencies set the agenda for the National Security Strategy, which primarily focuses on purchases of military equipment to modernize and upgrade military capability.  Demand for military and defense equipment from the United States is expected to increase following the two visits of senior Thai military government officials to the United States in late 2017 and early 2018.

The nature of security threats in Thailand include potential political unrest, occasional border disputes, domestic terrorist and separatist group activities in the southern border provinces, natural disasters, human smuggling, and illicit drug trafficking.
The budget appropriations for the Thai military have continued to increase every year in an effort to maintain combat readiness, neutralize the regional arms race among ASEAN, and upgrade the country’s armed forces.  The U.S. has been one of the most prominent sources of defense equipment for the country.

For 2018, Thai government will allocate 1.35% of the country’s GDP to defense, which is approximately $7 billion.  An estimated 49% of the defense budget is assigned to the Royal Thai Army, another 20% is given to the Royal Thai Navy, and 18% is for the Royal Thai Air Force.  The remaining funds are distributed to the Office of the Permanent Secretary and Defence Technology Institute (DTI) for research and development work.

 2016201720182019 (Estimated)
Defense Budget5,852.086,032.167,010.077,290.47
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)381,284.01425,037.14518,267.74538,998.45
Defense Budget in% to GDP1.53%1.42%1.35%1.49%
Annual Increase4.00%3.08%16.21%24.58%
Scale:  In millions of U.S. dollars

Leading Sub-sectors

  • Security and Safety Equipment (SEC)
  • Airport and Ground Support Equipment (APG)
  • Aircraft and Parts (AIR)
  • Aviation Services (AVS)


Government and military expenditures drive the Thai defense and equipment market and have increased budgets since 2014.  The factors that drive defense expenditures are threat levels, equipment maintenance, replacement, and overhaul requirements.
Last year, the Thai Ministry of Defense introduced 9 military reform and restructuring plan for 2017-2026.  The plan emphasizes research and development along with focus on purchases of munitions, weapons, high technology electronic devices, and telecommunication systems.  To increase military capabilities, the Thai military will invest and develop more defense technology and defense intelligent systems.  For example, the Common Operation Picture (COP), the Network Centric Operation (NCO), and the Message Text Format (MTF) will focus on the procurement of helicopters, armored vehicles, and frigates to counter southern insurgency and strengthen its current military units.

In addition, the Thai government plans to develop the domestic defense industry to reduce the country’s dependence on imports, promote technology transfer, and strengthen national security.

Web Resources

Ministry of Defense
Foreign Affairs Division, Office of Policy and Planning,
Tel: 662-225-7414, Fax: 662-226-1839

Royal Thai Armed Force Headquarters
Office of Policy and Plans, Directorate of Joint Operations,
Tel: 662-575-6203, Fax: 662-575-6067

Royal Thai Army
Policy and Plans Division
Directorate of Logistics
Tel: 662-297-7424, Fax: 662-297-7420

Defense Technology Institute(DTI), Ministry of Defense,
The Kingdom of Thailand
47/433, 4th Floor - Office of the Permanent Secretary of Defence Building. Changwattana Road., Pakkred, Nonthaburi 11120
Tel: +66 (0) 2980 6612-15, Fax: +66 (0) 2980 6688

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Thailand Aerospace and Defense Trade Development and Promotion