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05BANGKOK1187 AMBASSADOR CALLS ON ROYAL THAI NAVY COMMANDER ADM SAMPOP

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“27095″,”2/16/2005 6:48″,”05BANGKOK1187″,

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,””,

“This record is a partial extract of the original cable.

The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

“,”C O N F I D E N T I A L BANGKOK 001187

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/BCLTV

PACOM FOR FPA HUSO

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/14/2014

TAGS: PGOV, PREL, MARR, TH, POL/MIL, Tsunami

SUBJECT: THAILAND: AMBASSADOR CALLS ON ROYAL THAI NAVY

COMMANDER ADM SAMPOP

 

Classified By: Ambassador Ralph L. Boyce. Reason 1.4 (a and d)

 

SUMMARY

 

1. (C) During a February 14 meeting with the Ambassador,

Royal Thai Navy Commander-in-Chief, ADM Sampop Amrapala,

noted that over half of the RTN\’s Phang Nga Naval Base had

been destroyed by the December 26 tsunami and that it would

be at least six months before the facility was operational.

Nonetheless, Sampop was convinced that RTN capabilities in

the Andaman Sea were not seriously degraded. Sampop

explained that the bulk of the RTN\’s budget was spent on

maintenance. If he had any funds he could use to procure

additional equipment, Sampop would buy surface-to-air Sea

Sparrow and Anti-Submarine ASROC systems. Sampop told the

Ambassador that he looks at the RTN as a force to protect the

Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, not as a blue-water

navy. END SUMMARY.

 

TSUNAMI DAMAGE

 

SIPDIS

 

2. (C) ADM Sampop noted that over 50 percent of the Phang

Nga Naval Base, the RTN\’s primary facility on the Andaman

Sea, was destroyed by the December 26 tsunami. He estimated

that it would be at least six months before the facility was

operational. That said, Sampop told the Ambassador that the

RTN\’s capabilities in the Andaman Sea were not seriously

degraded. Sampop agreed with the Ambassador\’s assessment

that our joint/combined use of Utapao Thai Navy Air Base and

our ability to quickly work together to mitigate the impact

of the tsunami was only possible due to decades of combined

operations. CARAT, Cobra Gold and other exercises had paid

big dividends, he said.

 

3. (C) Sampop said that the beached Thai frigate at Phang

Nga, the HTMS Kra Buri, would likely be refloated by the

combined efforts of RTN and civilian contractors.

 

RTN BUDGET

 

4. (C) While quick to point out that most of the RTN\’s

budget was tied up with maintaining existing equipment,

Sampop said that if he had extra funds, he would concentrate

on buying Sea Sparrows and ASROCs for the RTN\’s two

Knox-class destroyers and Sea Sparrows for his Chinese built

frigates. He noted that three engines for RTN Sea Harrier

aircraft were in the United Kingdom being refitted. Once

those engines return, Sampop expected to be able to use his

Harriers more effectively.

 

NO PLANS FOR A BLUE WATER NAVY

 

5. (C) In response to the Ambassador\’s question, Sampop

suggested that the RTN\’s primary mission was to protect the

Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. He did not envision

Thailand developing a blue water naval capability.

Nonetheless, Sampop expressed a desire to improve RTN-USN

links and said that he looked forward to the upcoming visits

of 7th Fleet Commander VADM Greenert and the new PACOM

Commander. He was also appreciative of U.S. Government

assistance in allowing Thai cadets to attend the Naval and

the Coast Guard Acadamies.

 

6. (C) During the meeting, the Naval Attache complimented

ADM Sampop on the RTN\’s use of the VSTOL Carrier, Chakri

Nareubet, in supporting relief flights to Khao Lak and Phi

Phi Island. Sampop appreciated the fact that the relief

flights represented the longest sustained use of the carrier

since the RTN purchased the ship from Spain in 1997.

BOYCE

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Written by thaicables

July 6, 2011 at 7:31 am

Posted in Confidential, Sampop

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