The M1129 Stryker mortar system is an infantry carrier vehicle, descendant of the Swiss Mowag Piranha III, accommodating a 120mm mortar system that fires a suite of mortar ammunition and first employed in 2005. After 17 years, the U.S. Army is sharing this technology and weaponry with a close ally of the Indo-Pacific: The Kingdom of Thailand. Here at Cobra Gold 2022, the annual international training exercise now in its 41st year, the 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, shares the Stryker system with their partners from the 112th Infantry Regiment, Royal Thai Army, at the Fort Bhumibol Lopburi Artillery Centre Feb. 28, 2022.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to partner with the Thailand forces,” said Army Lt. Col. Duke Reim, the 4/23rd Infantry Regiment battalion commander. “But most importantly, we get to create those relationships, those lasting relationships.”
“The Royal Thai Army chose to invest in the proven capability of the Stryker family of vehicles based on their proven combat effectiveness,” said Maj. Curt Belohlavek, the battalion executive officer for 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment. “The Stryker family of vehicles simultaneously provides a new capability within the RTA and improves its interoperability with the U.S. Army.”
The Kingdom of Thailand, which has enjoyed nearly two centuries of friendly and formalized diplomatic relations with the U.S., is the first foreign nation to ever receive these Stryker systems. This year’s Cobra Gold starts the process of introducing the Strykers to the Royal Thai Army with a series of training exercises and field missions at Fort Bhumibol, preparing them to officially receive the vehicles at a future date. The event additionally provided an opportunity for the newest members of the 112th Infantry Regiment to demonstrate their fresh skills and take the lead in moving the Royal Thai Army into a new era of regional defense.
The 4/23rd and the 112th practiced maintenance procedures, elevation preparation on the mortar systems, dismount maneuvers, and live fire exercises on the Strykers to hone their skills in a field environment. Designed to demonstrate the United States’ commitment to Thailand, the field training portion of CG 22 encourages the U.S. and Thai Soldiers to learn from one another, build confidence, and strengthen their bond been developing over the years. The fielding of this vehicle is strategically important because it further enhances the military alliance between the United States and Thailand and signals to neighboring countries that Thailand is committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific region.