Textron Aviation Defense has secured a $162 million deal for 12 Beechcraft T-6C Texan IIs from the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF), as had been earlier suggested in a Thai presentation. The Integrated Training System will also cover ground-based training systems for pilots and maintenance professionals, a mission planning and debrief system, spare parts, and ground support equipment.
Training for RTAF personnel will begin in Wichita, Kansas, in 2022 and the aircraft, designated as T-6TH, will be delivered to the RTAF between late 2022 and early 2023. Two of the type will be flown to Thailand while the remaining 10 while be shipped in crates. The T-6C will eventually replace the Pilatus PC-9, in line with the RTAF’s 10-year Purchase and Development (P&D) Plan published in the white paper in 2020, with the light trainer aircraft program budgeted for THB5.2 billion ($164.3 million). The Kingdom will be the eleventh international customer for the T-6C.
“This program is a leap towards the new perspective of the Thai government to support the local defense industry, not only to procure a new trainer,” said Air Chief Marshal Maanat Wongwat, RTAF commander-in-chief, in a statement. “This program seeks the involvement between diverse partners, primarily between foreign and Thai local companies, which has been driven by the government’s current S-Curve 11 strategy.”
At the RTAF’s annual symposium presentation, it also revealed that it is seeking 12 AT-6TH Wolverines as replacement for the Aero L-39ZA/ART under the light attack aircraft replacement program, worth THB4.5 billion in the first phase. One of its project requirements is the possible integration of the Diehl Defence IRIS-T air-to-air missile.
Diehl Defence said that it is presently not in discussion with the RTAF on the integration of IRIS-T into the AT-6THs, but the air force’s plan would “make sense” as the weapon is already in use on the RTAF’s three other combat aircraft, and Diehl would be “very much interested” to be part of the program.