The Royal Thai Air Force has signed a $162 million contract with Textron Aviation Defense for the delivery of 12 Beechcraft T-6C Texan II aircraft as part of an integrated training solution.
According to Textron, the aircraft and the training system will be delivered in support of operations at the Royal Thai Air Force flying training school at Kamphaeng Saen air base.
In addition to the trainer aircraft, the contract covers ground-based training systems for pilots and maintenance professionals, a mission planning and debrief system, spare parts and ground support equipment.
Royal Thai Air Force pilots and maintenance professionals are set to begin training at Textron’s Wichita site in 2022 while the 12 Beechcraft T-6C Texan II aircraft — christened the T-6TH in Thailand — are expected to join the Royal Thai fleet between late 2022 and early 2023. Textron Aviation Defense plans to ferry two of the 12 aircraft to Thailand, crating and transporting the remaining 10 aircraft to Kamphaeng Saen air base.
The Beechcraft T-6 Texan II acquisition is in accordance with the 10-year Royal Thai Air Force Purchase and Development (P&D) Plan published in the RTAF White Paper 2020. The plan focuses on the modernization of key capabilities and promoting the development of the Thai defense industry. Earlier this year, the Thai Air Force ordered six H135 training helicopters from Airbus.
“This program is a leap towards the new perspective of the Thai government to support the local defence industry, not only to procure a new trainer,” said ACM Maanat Wongwat, Commander in Chief, The Royal Thai Air Force. “This program seeks the involvement between diverse partners, primarily between foreign and Thai local companies, which has been driven by the government’s current strategy “S-Curve 11.”
“The Royal Thai Air Force will now have an affordable, low-risk next-generation military trainer designed for all levels of instruction, enabling a steady tempo of flight students transitioning from pilot-in-training to pilot-in-command,” Brett Pierson, vice president of Textron Aviation Defense Strategy & Sales, commented.
To date, the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II has logged more than 4.1 million flight hours across a global fleet of nearly 1,000 aircraft. Each year more than 300 pilots from 42 countries graduate from T-6 training via the NATO Flight Training program in Canada, the Euro NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program (ENJJPT) at Sheppard AFB in Texas and the US Air Force Aviation Leadership Program.