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Update: KAI proposes T-50 for RTAF fighter requirement

The KAI T-50 is a tandem-seat multirole trainer aircraft that is in service with Indonesia, South Korea, and Thailand. (KAI)

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has proposed a sale of T-50 multirole trainer aircraft to the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF), which seeks to acquire new combat aircraft from fiscal year (FY) 2025.

A KAI spokesperson told Janes on 17 April that the proposal for the T-50TH variant was submitted in November 2023. The T-50TH is being pitched for the possible acquisition programme as the RTAF “has already purchased and operates the same model [of aircraft]”, the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that the T-50TH is being proposed as it is a multirole aircraft that “is not only suitable for advanced training but also capable of real combat in urgent situations”.

Janes understands that KAI's proposal is in response to an unofficial request for proposals (RFP) issued by the RTAF in the second half of 2023. In its 2024 White Paper, the RTAF detailed a plan to procure 12–14 fighter aircraft to replace ageing Lockheed Martin F-16A/Bs of its 102 Squadron from FY 2025 to FY 2034.

The RTAF's aircraft procurement plan was to be presented to the Thai cabinet on 2 April. However, an RTAF source told Janes on 3 April that the Thai government did not accept the RTAF's proposed budgetary request. “The air force will try again in May,” the source added.

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