Air Platforms

Thailand sets out aircraft procurement plans

20 February 2020

The Royal Thai Air Force has released its 2020 White Paper, which notes a number of procurement and aircraft replacement programmes, including one for the service’s F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft (pictured). Source: Jane’s/Kelvin Wong

The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) has set out medium- and longer-term procurement plans that include the purchase of new combat, transport, VVIP/VIP, trainer and unmanned aircraft types, as well as new helicopters.

In the RTAF White Paper 2020, released on 20 February, the service outlined a number of replacement aircraft that it intends to procure to replace ageing types over the coming decade-or-so.

Key programmes include new combat aircraft to replace the service's F-5 Tiger IIs, F-16 Fighting Falcons, and L-39s; new medium-sized transport aircraft to replace the C-130H, Saab 340B and BT-67; a new VVIP aircraft and helicopter type to serve the royal family, and a VIP aircraft to replace the Airbus ACJ319 used by government officials and as a back-up for the royal family; additional DA-40 trainer aircraft to replace the CT-4B, as well as other types to replace the CT-4E and PC-9; an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to replace the current U1 platform; and a new helicopter type to replace the Bell 412.

Under its F-5B/E replacement project, the White Paper proposes fiscal year (FY) 2023-25 funding to procure a single Saab Gripen C/D aircraft to replace one lost to an accident in 2017, and to bring the fleet back up to 12 (eight single-seat Gripen C and four twin-seat Gripen D). The Gripen C/D is already earmarked as the RTAF's eventual F-5 replacement platform, although for the near-term it has opted to upgrade rather than retire these ageing airframes. No funding level has been decided.

The F-16A/B replacement involves one squadron of 12 multirole aircraft being procured through FY 2028-31 (Phase 1 for six aircraft) and FY 2030-33 (Phase 2 for six aircraft) funding. No funding level has been decided.

Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to Jane's unrivalled data and insight, learn more about our subscription options at

(310 of 1086 words)