Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Pacific Resident Officer in Charge of Construction (ROICC) Thailand completed construction of an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Operations Support Facility on June 9 at U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield in Thailand.
The Indo-Pacific Maritime Security Initiative (MSI) funded construction of this facility, which will support the RQ-21A Blackjack UAS recently handed over by Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, Vice Admiral Karl Thomas to the Royal Thai Navy on May 24.
“The Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group Thailand (JUSMAGTHAI) requested that NAVFAC deliver this facility as quickly as possible to meet the program training schedule,” said NAVFAC Pacific ROICC Thailand Lt. Cmdr. Rama Mutyala. “This gave us an opportunity to be creative and look for a faster solution.”
ROICC Thailand awarded a 100-day construction contract to a local Thai company to provide a 1,600 square feet two-story facility with a control room, maintenance room, and storage for the launch and retrieval equipment. The prefabricated facility was assembled on site in record time.
The construction completion was marked by a delegation visit, which included Royal Thai Armed Forces Deputy Chief of Staff General Thitichai Tiantong and Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Fleet Admiral Suwin Jangyodsuk, as well as members of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command staff and JUSMAGTHAI. The visit highlighted the breadth and depth of the U.S.-Thai maritime partnership.
This facility and the Royal Thai Navy’s new RQ-21A Blackjacks will enhance Thailand’s maritime security capabilities for search and rescue operations, drug and human trafficking interdiction, and will also advance the interoperability of our navies.
“The fast construction has allowed the Royal Thai Navy’s newest UAS squadron to achieve initial operational capability ahead of schedule,” said JUSMAGTHAI Director of Joint Security Assistance Cmdr. Luke Barlow. “This program would not have succeeded without NAVFAC’s assistance. We hope to replicate the design of this facility for future locations.”
ROICC Thailand is among several locations supported by the NAVFAC Pacific Contingency Engineering Business Line (CEBL). NAVFAC Pacific CEBL operates forward providing acquisition, engineering and construction support throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific with headquarters at Pearl Harbor and offices in Bangkok, Thailand; Manila, Philippines; Darwin, Australia; and forward operating presence in Jakarta, Indonesia and Hanoi, Vietnam.