The Royal Thai Armed Force (RTAF) has reportedly signed a nearly five billion baht contract to purchase 8 armed aircraft from the United States’s Textron Aviation Defense, according to Flightglobal reports on Sunday.
According to the news, 8 Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine from the US prominent aircraft manufacturer were bought during its first international AT-6 sale during the Dubai air show on November 14th. The RTAF also becomes the first international buyer of the type.
The purchase contract was at 143 million USD or approximately 4.69 billion baht. The purchase reportedly includes accessories, spare parts, and training of Thai personnel by the US company.
Textron stated that the Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine, or Beechcraft AT-6TH in Thai service, will replace retired Aero Vodochody L-39s for security, drug, and human trafficking suppression purposes.
The pilot training will be conducted in Wichita, Kansas in 2024 before the aircraft will be delivered at the Chiang Mai Air Force Base in the further step.
Air Marshal Pongsawat Jantasarn, chairman of the service’s procurement committee, said regarding the purchase: “The RTAF pilots and related parties found the attributes of the AT-6 procurement program extremely favorable.”
TPN media notes that the announcement on Thai social media led to widespread criticism, with many questioning the purchase while the Covid-19 pandemic continues. The RTAF stressed, however, this was a future deal and not immediately with action not being taken until 2024 in which they anticipate the pandemic will no longer be the issue it currently is.
Photo Courtesy: Textron Aviation Defense
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