Thailand’s Air Force Seeking $538 Million From State Budget for New Fighter Jet Fleet

By Trisha Andrada

Jan 30, 2024 08:02 AM EST

The Thai Air Force intends to request around 19 billion baht ($538 million) from the state budget in order to purchase new fighter planes to replace its outdated fleet.

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Acquisition of New Combat Aircraft

In a report by Bloomberg, a committee has been established by the Royal Thai Air Force to investigate the possibility of purchasing either the F-16 Block 70 manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corporation or the Gripen E manufactured by Saab of Sweden. This was stated by the commander-in-chief, Punpakdee Pattanakul, on Tuesday, January 30.

In light of the fact that the budget is currently constrained, Punpakdee said that the Air Force would look into the potential economic advantages that the acquisition may bring about.

According to Punpakdee, the Air Force will need the funds in stages, beginning with the budget for the fiscal year that starts on October 1 and continuing until the delivery is finished, which may take anywhere from seven to ten years.

fighter jet
(Photo : Patrick Campanale on Unsplash)
The Thai Air Force plans to petition the state budget for 19 billion baht ($538 million) to buy new fighter jets to replace its old fleet.

Prior Attempt to Purchase F-35 Jets

In May of last year, the United States turned down a proposal from Thailand to quickly acquire F-35A stealth fighter planes. The US cited a lengthy waiting time and the requirement for significant investments in infrastructure and training.

Reuters said that Thailand had allocated 13.8 billion baht ($407.68 million) in 2022 to purchase new fighter planes to replace its F-5 and F-16 aircraft, the majority of which were manufactured in the US.

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