Royal Thai Army’s 5th Infantry Division, Security Battalion of Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters (RTARFHQ) and British Army’s 1st Battalion, Royal Gurkha Rifles (1 RGR) have once again come together to participate in the highly anticipated exercise Panther Gold 2023. The joint military exercise, which took place in the 4th Army Area of the Royal Thai Army, showcased the strategic partnership and cooperation between the two nations. The opening ceremony of Panther Gold 2023 was held on July 5, 2023, at the Sichon Special Combat Training Camp in Nakhon Si Thammarat Province. The training continued for several weeks, culminating in the closing ceremony on July 25, 2023, at Ban Thung Hua Na School in Sichon District, Nakhon Si Thammarat Province. The exercise aimed to enhance the tactical proficiency, interoperability, and mutual understanding between the Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTARF) and the British Armed Forces.
The Royal Thai Army’s 5th Infantry Division and Security Battalion, along with the British Army’s 1st Battalion, Royal Gurkha Rifles, played a pivotal role in the exercise. Their participation demonstrated the commitment of both nations to strengthening military ties and exchanging knowledge and expertise. This year’s Panther Gold exercise marked the fourth edition of the joint training program. The Royal Thai Armed Forces and the UK previously organized Panther Gold exercises in 2017 and 2019. Unfortunately, the exercise could not take place in 2021 due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. However, the successful resumption of the exercise in 2022 and now in 2023 reflects the determination to maintain bilateral cooperation in defense despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.
Panther Gold 2023 showcased a range of modern equipment utilized by both the Royal Thai Army and the British Army. Among the notable equipment featured were the Tactical Vest and the Royal Thai Army’s Carl Gustav M4 recoilless rifle. The L134A1 automatic grenade launcher (H&K GMG) and the British Army’s FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank guided missile also took center stage during the exercise. These advanced weapons and equipment demonstrated the commitment of both armies to staying at the forefront of military technology and capability. The joint training exercises allowed soldiers from both armies to engage in various tactical scenarios, emphasizing teamwork, coordination, and effective communication. The exchange of strategies, techniques, and best practices between the Royal Thai Army and the British Army fosters a deeper understanding and strengthens the bond between the two nations.
Panther Gold 2023 not only contributes to the development of military skills but also promotes cultural exchange and camaraderie among participating troops. The soldiers from both nations had the opportunity to interact closely, forging lasting friendships and deepening mutual respect. The successful completion of Panther Gold 2023 further solidifies the long-standing partnership between the Royal Thai Armed Forces and the British Armed Forces. The exercise serves as a testament to the shared commitment to regional security, peacekeeping efforts, and collaborative defense initiatives. As both countries continue to face evolving security challenges, exercises like Panther Gold play a vital role in ensuring preparedness and fostering effective collaboration between allied forces. The Royal Thai Army and the British Army can take pride in the accomplishments of Panther Gold 2023. This joint exercise will undoubtedly pave the way for future collaborations, strengthening the defense capabilities of both nations and fostering enduring ties between the soldiers who worked side by side during the training.