Navy tests new artillery-targeting system off Pattaya island

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Royal Thai Navy forces have begun testing a new weapons-targeting system aimed at lowering costs by allowing spare parts to be made in Thailand.

Vice Adm. Taweewut Pongpipat, assistant division chief of staff, oversaw the live target practice at Koh Rin, one of Pattaya’s Far Islands.

Coastal Defense Battalion 12 used the occasion to fire eight 155mm Chinese artillery shells on an arced trajectory, aiming and tracking the projectiles with a Raytheon Pathfinder MK targeting system and Thales Group BOR A-550 portable radar system. Shells were fired over a distance of 17 kilometers at the island’s “Big Rock,” a popular scuba diving site littered with unexploded shells that frequently miss the island.

The Thai Navy tests a new weapons-targeting system, firing artillery rounds towards Koh Rin.The Thai Navy tests a new weapons-targeting system, firing artillery rounds towards Koh Rin.

Rear Adm. Tharathorn Khachitsuwan, commander of the Air and Coastal Defense division, said the new firing system should not only help the Navy shoot straighter, but pay less for spare parts, as they can be manufactured inside the kingdom.

A key to the new system will be data synchronization between the portable radar system and the Coastal Defense Command’s existing target-detection system. The data link won the navy a consolation prize in a National Research Council contest 11 years ago.

Taweewut said the navy will use results of this month’s target practice in the development of radar-linking systems for weapons-firing calculations. Such calculations will be sent wirelessly from a computer to the artillery fire team, speeding firing time and improving accuracy, he claimed.