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Dubai Airshow 2021: Thailand named as AT-6TH international launch customer

Thailand has been named as the international launch customer for the Textron AT-6TH Wolverine light attack aircraft, with a USD143.4 million contract announced at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

Announced by the manufacturer on 14 November, the deal will see the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) receive eight turboprop aircraft, as well as ground support equipment, spare parts, training, and other equipment.

All eight RTAF AT-6TH aircraft are expected to be assigned to 411 Squadron, part of the 41st Wing based at Chiang Mai Air Base to support border security, anti-smuggling, counter-narcotics, and anti-human trafficking operations.

Production of the AT-6TH aircraft will take place at Textron Aviation Defense's facilities in Wichita, Kansas where RTAF pilot training will begin in 2024. The first AT-6TH aircraft are scheduled to enter RTAF service in 2024.

Strategically, the contract supports the modernisation and interoperability objectives of the mutual defence co-operation between the United States and Thailand. Industrially, the contract contributes to the growth of Thailand's aerospace industry in accordance with the S-Curve 11 strategy as detailed in the RTAF 2020 white paper.

The AT-6TH is the second RTAF procurement contracted in support of S-Curve 11, following the USD162 million contract awarded in October 2020 for 12 T-6TH Texan II trainer aircraft. The first T-6TH aircraft is scheduled to be delivered to the RTAF Flying Training School at Kamphaeng Saen Air Base in late 2022. Follow-on deliveries are planned to conclude in early 2023 enabling the RTAF to retire its remaining fleet of Aero L-39 Albatros aircraft.

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