It has been recently reported that a team sent by the US Air Force will evaluate if Thailand can procure and maintain the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fifth-generation fighter jet.
In late 2021, the Royal Thai Air Force announced its intention to purchase the fifth-generation fighter jets as part of its plans to replace its aging fleet of combat aircraft. Thailand’s commander-in-chief specified that the country was considering the purchase of eight to 12 F-35s and supplementing them with combat drones.
The government of Thailand has already approved a budget of 13.8 billion baht (USD 400 million) to purchase the first four F-35s. Developed by Lockheed Martin, the F-35 fighter is an agile, versatile, and high-performance multi-role fighter. With a flight range of more than 1,350 miles, it features an advanced sensor package designed to gather and distribute vital information, giving operators a decisive advantage over adversaries.
Experts warn that while relatively cheap to purchase, the F-35 sports considerably high maintenance costs, making the purchase a significant commitment for smaller air forces.
(Sources: The Defense Post; AeroTime Hub)