The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) has signed a $143 million contract with Textron Aviation Defense LLC for eight Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine aircraft, becoming the international launch customer for the US Air Force’s latest light attack aircraft.
The eight-unit order, along with ground support equipment, spare parts, training and other equipment, will support the 41st Wing light attack operations at Chiang Mai Air Base.
The purchase will allow RTAF to replace its existing fleet of aging Aero L-39 Albatros aircraft from 2024, when the first AT-6 is scheduled to join the Royal Thai fleet. The US Air Force received its first Wolverine in February this year.
The Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine turboprop is designed and manufactured by Textron Aviation Defense at the company’s Wichita, Kansas, facilities.
“We are honored the Royal Thai Air Force has competitively selected the Beechcraft AT-6 to conduct a broad array of missions in support of its border security and its anti-smuggling, counter-narcotics and anti-human trafficking operations,” said Thomas Hammoor, president and chief executive officer of Textron Aviation Defense LLC.
The contract for the AT-6 — designated the Beechcraft AT-6TH in Thailand — is the country’s second with Textron. In September 2020, Thailand 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.
Both purchases align with the Thai government’s S-Curve 11 strategy — a program that pioneers development of the Thai domestic defense industry, cultivates diversity and supports involvement across foreign and Thai companies.
Textron will start delivering training to RTAF maintenance professionals for the AT-6TH in Thailand in 2023, while pilot training is set to begin in Wichita in 2024.