BANGKOK, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- The Thai army has decommissioned its lone airship after eight years in service in Thailand's southernmost region.
Army chief Gen. Chalermchai Sittisart confirmed on Thursday that the airship, procured for 350 million baht (about 10.29 million U.S. dollars) and deployed since 2010, has already been decommissioned and will not be replaced.
However, the army's intelligence-gathering missions will be continued on without any more airship throughout the Deep South region covering Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat provinces, according to the army chief.
Equipped aboard the army airship was a day/night vision camera which cost 70 million baht (about 2 million U.S. dollars). It has monitored and recorded ground movements of suspected insurgents in the three southernmost provinces for the last several years.
The airship could fly up to 10,000 feet in altitude with a speed of 55 to 88 km per hour and float in the air for six hours at a time with two pilots, one cameraman and one mission officer aboard.