The Royal Thai Air Force has completed the deployment of the first four T-50TH supersonic trainer jets imported from South Korea. The T-50 TH trainer jets were inducted into service at Air Wing 401 based in Takhli airbase, Nakhon Sawan after the planes had gone through tough inspection procedure.
Air Force commander-in-Chief ACM Jom Rungsawang said that although this was the first time that the Air Force had procured planes from an Asian producer, he had confidence in the quality and efficiency of the trainer jets, believing that they will be in service up to 30 years before they are to be decommissioned. KAI, South Korea’s sole aircraft maker, signed a US$110 million contract with Thailand in 2015 for the sale of the four planes. They were delivered to the Southeast Asian nation earlier this year.
The T-50THs will begin to replace the nation’s existing L-39 trainer aircraft. KAI clinched another deal, worth US$260 million, to supply Thailand with eight additional T-50THs. Their delivery is scheduled to take place by 2020. KAI said it has exported 145 T-50 and KT-1 basic trainer planes to seven countries, including Indonesia, Turkey, Peru, the Philippines and Senegal. It’s also trying to sell T-50s to the United States, Argentina and Botswana.