Air Force Appeals F-35 Purchase Veto by Thai Parliament

  • Our Bureau
  • 07:15 AM, July 28, 2022
  • 916
Air Force Appeals F-35 Purchase Veto by Thai Parliament
F-35A fighters

The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) has requested the government to rethink its decision to exclude the purchase of a pair of F-35A fighters for about $200 million (Bt7.4 billion) from its 2023 fiscal budget.

On Tuesday, the House sub-committee resolved to exclude the jet procurement plan for two main reasons: lack of information as to whether the U.S. Congress will actually sell the jets; and whether it is necessary to buy the jets now, when the country needs funds to revive the economy in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Yutthapong Charassathian, deputy chairman of the subpanel on procurement, ICT, state firms and revolving funds, said that the RTAF had failed to say whether U.S. Congress would approve the F-35 sale. He said the panel found it would take up to 20 months to initiate the purchase, and suggested the $200 million meant to buy the jets should be used to help people suffering hardship from the COVID-19 crisis instead.

ACM Panpakdee Pattanakul, the Air Force Chief of Staff, said a petition had been submitted to the chairman of the sub-committee against the decision.

As per local media, the appeal will next be forwarded to the main House committee examining the procurement plan. Only about $19 million (Bt700 million) in the budget will be required in the 2023 fiscal year, while the rest will be carried over to later years until fiscal 2026.

“That is because the Air Force is conscious of the government's need to divert resources to fund efforts to revive the economy,” Pattanakul was quoted as saying by local media. “The Air Force, however, does need this initial sum to help convince the U.S. to accelerate its decision on whether to make the sale,” he clarified.

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