Air International 1980-07
??? - Thailand seeks enhanced air capability
The F-84G Thunderjet was the first RTAF jet combat aircraft in 1957.
The F-86F Sabre served the RTAF from the early '60s to late '70s.
The Curtiss Hawk III served with the RTAF from 1935 to late '40s.
A Hawk 75N of the 5th Wing of the Royal Thai Air Force based at Prachuab Kirikhartd in 1941.
A dozen Hawk 75N fighters were procured by the RTAF during 1938-39.
The T-6 Texan served in the COIN role from late '40s to late '70s.
Backbone of the logistic support element, the C-123K Provider, equipping two squadrons, must either be re-engined or replaced during the first half of the present decade. The feasibility of a re-engining programme is currently under study and contingency studies of such types as the Aeritalia G.222, the DHC Buffalo and even the Transall C.160 have been made in case favoured re-engining proves impracticable.
The ageing RT-33A shares the tactical reconnaissance task with a few RF-5As and is expected to remain in the RTAF inventory for some years.
Various colour schemes have been adopted for OV-10s. The Royal Thai Air Force has borrowed USAF camouflage patterns, using brown and two shades of green for its OV-10C with gull grey undersurfaces. USAF OV-10As in Vietnam, however, are gull grey overall with white on the upper surface of the wing.
The OV-10C Bronco equips two RTAF counter-insurgency squadrons and more aircraft of this type are currently sought to make up attrition, hut cost is an inhibiting factor and it is impracticable to reinstate the Bronco in production for the small quantity required by the RTAF.
Late forties purchase of Spitfire XIVs upgraded RTAF capability.
One of the Vought V.100 Corsairs built in the mid-'thirties.
Early post-WWII RTAF procurement included a number of Tiger Moths.
The Northrop F-5E Tiger II now possesses primary responsibility for Thai air defence, with one RTAF squadron of this type fully operational and a second currently working up. The F-5E Tiger II (on photo) is considered ideally suited to Thai requirements and no further procurement of aircraft optimised for the air defence role is foreseen before the mid-eighties.
The RTAF currently has four Swearingen Merlin IVs in its inventory, three having been procured for the photographic role and two as 15-passenger VIP transports for use by the Royal Family and its entourage. One of the latter was lost in an accident following a training flight in November 1979, and no replacement has yet been obtained.
The RTAF has 18 twin-turbine Sikorsky S-58Ts in its inventory (such as that illustrated) converted from CH-34s by Thai-Am, an aircraft servicing and maintenance organisation originally formed by Thai International Airways and Pan American World Airways, from kits supplied between September 1977 and March 1978.