The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) has entered into a $162M contract with Textron Aviation Defence for 12 Beechcraft T-6C Texan II aircraft. The US airframer will also supply Thailand with ground-based training systems for pilots and maintenance professionals, a mission planning and debrief system along with spare parts and ground support equipment.

The new trainer aircraft, designated as T-6H in Thailand, will be based at the RTAF’s Flying Training School at Kamphaeng Saen air base.

“This programme 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, RTAF.

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Training of RTAF aircrew and maintenance personnel is slated to commence in 2022 and deliveries of the 12 T-6C Texan T-6H trainers will take place between late 2022 and early 2023. The first two aircraft will be flown into Thailand, while the remaining 10 aircraft will be assembled at Kamphaeng Saen air base. 

The RTAF’s acquisition of the T-6C Texan II Integrated Training System will provide its student pilots with a technological advantage throughout their flight training and prepare them for a successful transition to advanced fighter and attack aircraft, said Thomas Webster, regional director of Textron Aviation Defence Asia Pacific Sales in a company release.

On an annual basis, more than 5,000 pilots graduate from T-6 training programmes across the US Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Coast Guard, NATO training programmes, Hellenic Air Force, the Argentine Air Force, the Israeli Air Force, the UK Royal Air Force, the Iraqi Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, Mexican Navy, the Mexican Air Force, the Royal Moroccan Air Force and the Royal New Zealand Air Force.