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Air force still wants new aircraft to replace its aging F-16 fighters

The Royal Thai Force (RTAF) is insisting on the need to acquire new aircraft to replace its aging F-16 fighter jets, which are about to be decommissioned, in order to maintain its combat readiness and to protect the country’s air space, Air Vice Marshal Prapas Sonjaidee, spokesman for the RTAF, said Thursday.

The United States rejected Thailand’s request to buy their state-of-the art F-35A stealth fighters. The RTAF was recently informed of the US administration’s rejection by the US ambassador to Thailand Robert F. Godec, during his recent call on the Air Force commander-in-chief.

According to the explanation given by the US administration, it will take at least ten years for the US to approve the sale of the advanced jet fighters to a new customer like Thailand and there are numerous requirements that Thailand must meet before the sale can be approved.

Some of the requirements include infrastructural facilities, training systems, logistics and security measures, which are different from the management of F-16 fighters currently in service with the RTAF, because the systems for the aircraft are incompatible, said AVM Prapas.

He said that the US administration is prepared to sell its 4.5-generation fighters, such as the F-15 and the more advanced F-16, to Thailand, which could be delivered within shorter period of time.

The spokesman also said that the RTAF will review its acquisition plan for new jet fighters cautiously, to ensure the most beneficial use of the defence budget.

As for the 369 million baht already allocated for the acquisition of F-35 stealth fighters, the RTAF will return the money to the Budget Bureau.

The post Air force still wants new aircraft to replace its aging F-16 fighters first appeared on Thai PBS World : The latest Thai news in English, News Headlines, World News and News Broadcasts in both Thai and English. We bring Thailand to the world.

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