WICHITA/BANGKOK: Textron Aviation Defense has been awarded a $162 million contract to provide the Royal Thai Air Force an integrated training system in support of operations at the RTAF Flying Training School located in Kamphaeng Saen air base.
The contract is for 12 Beechcraft T-6C Texan II advanced military training aircraft, ground-based training systems for pilots and maintenance professionals, a mission planning and debrief system, spare parts and ground support equipment. The work in support of this contract will take place at the company’s Wichita, Kansas facilities. Textron Aviation Defense is a Textron company.
“The Royal Thai Air Force operates one of the most advanced air forces in Asia-Pacific and is a key US security ally,” said regional director of Textron Aviation Defense Asia Pacific Sales, Thomas Webster. “Their acquisition of the Beechcraft T-6C Texan II Integrated Training System empowers their cadre of student pilots with a technological advantage throughout their flight training and prepares them for a successful transition to advanced fighter and attack aircraft.”
The Beechcraft T-6 Texan II acquisition is in accordance with the 10-year Royal Thai Air Force Purchase and Development (P&D) Plan published in the RTAF White Paper 2020. The plan focuses on the modernisation of key capabilities and promoting the development of the Thai defence industry. The Thai trainer aircraft has been designated T-6TH and will be delivered to the RTAF between late 2022 and early 2023.
“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 Commander in Chief, Royal Thai Air Force, ACM Maanat Wongwat. “This programme seeks the involvement between diverse partners, primarily between foreign and Thai local companies, which has been driven by the government’s current strategy “S-Curve 11.”
Textron Aviation Defense training of Royal Thai Air Force pilots and maintenance professionals is set to begin in Wichita in 2022 while the 12 Beechcraft T-6C Texan II aircraft — christened the T-6TH in Thailand — are expected to join the Royal Thai fleet between late 2022 and early 2023. Textron Aviation Defense plans to ferry two of the 12 aircraft to Thailand, crating and transporting the remaining 10 aircraft to Kamphaeng Saen air base.
“We’re proud to equip the Royal Thai Air Force with the world’s most proven off-the-shelf training capability in the industry,” noted Brett Pierson, vice president of Textron Aviation Defense Strategy & Sales. “The Royal Thai Air Force will now have an affordable, low-risk next-generation military trainer designed for all levels of instruction, enabling a steady tempo of flight students transitioning from pilot-in-training to pilot-in-command. I know the legendary T-6 will support the Royal Thai Air Force with long-term reliability, cost-effective operations and a fully integrated array of simulators, computer-based academics and sustainable logistics.”
To date, the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II has logged more than 4.1 million flight hours across a global fleet of nearly 1,000 aircraft. Each year more than 300 pilots from 42 countries graduated from T-6 training via the NATO Flight Training programme in Canada, the Euro NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Programme (ENJJPT) at Sheppard AFB in Texas and the US Air Force Aviation Leadership Programme. Another 2,000-plus pilots graduated from T-6 programmes across the US Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Coast Guard while more than 2,700 pilots graduated from T-6 programmes across the 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. –shp/mgm