BMI View: Although Thailand's domestic landscape remains wrought by fragility, owing primarily to the political weight that the military holds and domestic security concerns, the defence market will continue to be one of the fastest growing in the world. The local defence industry will remain underdeveloped and, as such, the country will rely on international exporters to satisfy the majority of its defence requirements. Cooling relations with the US in light of the 2014 coup have allowed for greater diversification in Thailand's defence import matrix and we highlight that non-US firms are increasingly well-placed to capture market share. We highlight gaps in the Royal Thai Armed Forces' C4ISR, amphibious and naval capabilities to especially offer lucrative revenue-earning opportunities for multinational defence firms. Nonetheless, political instability threatens the continuity of defence spending policy and the opaque nature of procurement and defence spending will act as deterring factors. Deteriorating demographic trends and a lack of reform momentum will also act to hinder potential in economic growth and, in turn, that of defence expenditure growth.
|e/f = BMI estimate/forecast. Source: US Dept. Of State WMEAT|
|Defence expenditure, THBmn||185,627.9||196,170.6||213,393.4||233,863.3||254,999.0||277,908.8|
|Defence expenditure, % of GDP||1.4||1.4||1.4||1.5||1.5||1.5|
|Defence expenditure, THB, % y-o-y||0.8||5.7||8.8||9.6||9.0||9.0|
Initial plans for the country to hold general elections in 2015 were deferred until 2016, and have now been deferred again until 2017. A draft constitution will be voted on in an August 7 referendum.
In May 2016, Thailand and Japan agreed to expand defence collaboration following talks between Thai Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan and his Japanese counterpart Gen Nakatani. A joint statement said the two sides will increase efforts to explore potential Japanese exports to the Thai market and activities related to military joint exercises and training, as well as efforts in disaster relief.
In April 2016, the raising of the Royal Thai Marine Corps' (RTMC's) first paramilitary counter-insurgency force was approved by the Thai government. As regular army personnel are withdrawn from the insurgency-plagued southern region, the volunteer-formed light infantry paramilitary units take up the primary role in counter-separatist operations.
On March 29, suspected southern separatist militants killed three local police officers and injured six others in Thailand's Narathiwat province in a vehicle ambush.
During February 23-27, Prawit Wongsuwon, Thailand's defence minister and deputy prime minister, visited Moscow and Minsk to hold talks with senior defence officials from the two countries regarding an expansion of defence industry cooperation and trade.
In November 2015, governments of the UK and Thailand opened dialogue with regard to deepening defence industrial engagement in a bid to accelerate defence trade and technology transfer.
In October 2015, the US approved the prospective sale of RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missiles (ESSM) to Thailand under a Foreign Military Sale case, estimated at a value of USD26.9mn. The sale package would include 16 ESSM units (made up of 14 tactical missiles and two telemetry missiles), three Mk 25 Quad Pack canisters, and 10 Mk 783 shipping containers.
In October 2015, the Royal Thai Armed Forces announced its intentions to establish a cyber warfare unit in the near future.
In August 2015, 20 people were killed and approximately 120 were reportedly injured when a bomb was detonated near the Hindu Phra Prom shrine at the Ratchaprasong intersection in the Erawan area of Chidlom district of Bangkok. No group claimed responsibility for the attack, though Thailand's national police chief linked the attack to Uighur militants.
In July 2015, Thai Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan announced that the government was postponing its plan to purchase three S26T submarines from China. The procurement plan has since been dropped and new contenders for the requirement are being drafted.
Defence Industry Risk/Reward Index
Thailand's armed forces are in need of modernisation and critical capability gaps exist in its current force structure. Compounded by a fragile domestic and increasingly tense regional security profile, military spending is all but assured. Given the fact that its domestic defence manufacturing sector is incapable of developing technologically advanced platforms and systems, international firms are well placed to capture market share. However, the weak domestic industry, instability in its political landscape, an opaque procurement process and endemic corruption within the business environment all act to undermine the country's Rewards. For these reasons, Thailand registers a score of 48 out of 100 in our Defence Risk/Reward Index, placing the country in 11th place out of 14.
The Thailand Defence & Security Report features BMI Research's independent forecasts for national and international security, the defence industry, military expenditure, employment in arms production, and arms imports and exports, as well as examining industry trends and prospects, national and multinational arms producers and the regulatory environment.
BMI's Thailand Defence & Security Report provides professionals, consultancies, government departments, regulatory bodies and researchers with independent forecasts and regional competitive intelligence on the Thai defence and security industry.
- Benchmark BMI's independent defence and security industry forecasts on Thailand to test other views - a key input for successful budgetary and strategic business planning in the Thai defence and security market.
- Target business opportunities and risks in the Asia defence and security sector through reviews of latest industry trends, regulatory changes and major deals, projects and investments in Asia.
- Assess the activities, strategy and market position of your competitors, partners and clients via our Company Profiles (inc. KPIs and latest activity).
Global and Regional Political Outlooks
A strategic overview of the world’s major political risks, identifying countries facing leadership successions and nations at risk of upheaval, inter-state conflict, or separatism and insurgencies, plus a summary of the world’s ‘wild card’ low-probability high-impact risks.
Snapshot evaluation of the major issues affecting the defence and security sectors, economy and politics, with issues subdivided into strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
BMI Industry Forecast Scenario
Historic data series and forecasts to end-2019 for key industry indicators supported by explicit assumptions, plus analysis of key downside risks to the main forecast.
- Defence Expenditure: Defence expenditure (local currency and USDbn); defence expenditure (% of total budget); defence expenditure per capita (USD); defence budget (local currency and USDbn).
- Armed Forces (to 2012): Manpower available for military service, manpower fit for militaryservice, army personnel, navy personnel,air force personnel, total armed forces, (‘000) (% population).
- Arms Trade: Arms and ammunition exports and imports (USDmn); bombs, grenades and missiles exports and imports (USDmn); revolver and pistol exports and imports (USDmn); weapons excluding guns and swords exports and imports (USDmn).
Political Risk Assessment
Drawing on BMI’s heritage of more than 25 years of Country Risk analysis, this comprehensively evaluates the key risks to domestic politics and foreign relations, focusing on issues most likely to affect either domestic security or the defence sector.
Security Risk Analysis
BMI’s proprietary Security Risk Indices provide investors with a reliable and country-comparable guide to conflict, terrorism and criminal risk, backed up by our analyst’s latest assessment of each component. Furthermore, drawing on our Country Risk expertise, we assess the state’s vulnerability to a serious, or prolonged, terrorist campaign.
Armed Forces Spending/ Expenditure
The reports contain a detailed breakdown of areas of expenditure by the armed forces, these include spending on international deployments, WMDs and missile defence systems as well as individual breakdowns of the cost-per-soldier.
The domestic security overview lists the various potential internal security threats facing a country, ranging from internal security issues such as terrorism, cyber terrorism, crime and drugs, to external security issues including general defence procedures and potential threats from specific countries. The reports also provide a regional overview which details specific issues and flashpoints affecting the Americas, along with potential risks in the coming year.
Examines the competitive positioning and short- to medium-term business strategies of key industry players. Strategy is examined within the context of BMI’s industry forecasts, our macroeconomic views and our understanding of the wider competitive landscape. The latest financial and operating statistics and key company developments are also incorporated within the company profiles, enabling a full evaluation of recent company performance and future growth prospects.
The Defence & Security Market reports draw on an extensive network of primary sources, such as multilateral organisations, government departments, industry associations, chambers and company reports.
*Company profiles are not available for every country. Those reports instead contain information on the current activities of prominent companies operating in the market.