The Royal Thai Air Force has recently highlighted the need to purchase new fighter jets to replace existing aircraft scheduled for decommissioning. The Air Force commenced a 10-year plan to decommission fighter jets in 2021, which foresees cuts to halve the fleet by 2032. However, Thai officers say new jets are needed for main air defense activities, and the plan does not allow to have sufficient capabilities for maintaining operations.
The air force therefore announced plans to procure fifth-generation fighters, which are described as having five core features: stealth along with supercruise, sensor fusion and super maneuverability, in addition to synergistic integrated avionics. Apart from strengthening the nation’s air defense capabilities, such modern fighter jets are deemed to be necessary for the air force’s security cooperation with other countries in the region.
Importantly, in January 2022, Thailand’s cabinet approved a plan to buy four fighter jets starting in 2023, with a budget of THB 13.8 billion (USD 413.67 million) for procurement. The approval followed an expression of interest by the air force chief in procuring eight F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin Corp of the United States.
(Sources: Bangkok Post; Thaiger)