The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) has announced its intention to secure a budget of THB 40 billion (USD 1.2 billion) for the 2024 fiscal year, with additional funding required for necessary aircraft upgrades and replacements. The budget allocation for the RTAF for the 2023 fiscal year was THB 36.1 billion (USD 1 billion).
The RTAF emphasized that the additional funds would be allocated for the long term. In particular, the Force needs to replace its Airbus A340-500, which has been in service for 18 years. The plane has been utilized in humanitarian missions, such as providing assistance for earthquake victims in Turkey, and is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2026.
In addition, the RTAF needs to enhance the radar efficiency of Saab 340 aircraft, which were employed in air defense operations during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in November 2022.
There are also plans to purchase F-35A combat aircraft from the United States, subject to approval from the American Congress. The RTAF, on the other hand, stated that it is considering other possibilities.
Overall, the RTAF is seeking to secure a substantial budget in order to improve and upgrade its existing capabilities, with a particular focus on aircraft upgrades and replacements. Long-term planning is essential for the Air Force to continue fulfilling its role in humanitarian missions, air defense operations, and other activities.
(Sources: The Bangkok Post; Vietnam+)