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RTAF Plans to Acquire 12 New Jet Fighters

Yulian Ardiansyah - : Jan 17, 2024 - : 10:41 pm

In a symposium set to be held next month, the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) will unveil its development plan including a proposal to acquire 12 new jet fighters. This was revealed by the service’s Commander-in-Chief, ACM Phanpakdee Pattanakul via Bangkok Post on Wednesday (Jan. 17).

Scheduled to take place on 29 February 2024, the symposium will outline RTAF’s vision for the future including the acquisition of new assets including weapons, expansion of the service’s maintenance programs, and other projects.

The proposal to acquire new jet fighters is meant to find replacement for Thailand’s aging F-16A/B fleet which will be retired in 2028. It will be divided into three phases with the first planned to begin in October 2025.

With an estimated cost of THB19 billion (approx. USD533.7 million), the first phase for four jet fighters has been submitted to Thailand’s Ministry of Defence to be forwarded to the cabinet.

While no specific fighter type was mentioned in the proposal, it is already known that both the US-made F-16 Block 70/72 and Swedish-made JAS 39E Gripen are being considered. While there are few indications that the RTAF might lean more toward the latter, it remains to be seen which one will finally be selected.

RTAF received its first F-16 Block-15 fighters in 1988. The service still operates 49 of the type consisting of 35 F-16A single-seater and 14 F-16B dual-seater/trainer versions. On the other hand, the first six JAS 39C/D Gripen fighters were delivered to the country in 2011 with the second batch of another six delivered in 2013.

Photo: Alert5, Wikimedia Commons

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