Thai Parliament Approves Air Force's Proposal to buy Two F-35 Jets

  • Our Bureau
  • 04:48 AM, August 4, 2022
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Thai Parliament Approves Air Force's Proposal to buy Two F-35 Jets
Royal Thai Air Force's F-16 aircraft: RTAF image

A house panel of the Thai Parliament, vetting the 2023 budget bill on Wednesday approved 369 million baht (US$10.1 millon) to initiate the process of acquiring two units of Lockheed Martin's F-35 fighter jets.
With this, the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) has got the go-ahead to make a request to the U.S. government to buy the two aircraft. Earlier a house committee of the Thai Parliament had vetoed the RTAF's decision seeking 738 million baht for its planned purchase of two F-35A fighter jets.
RTAF commander ACM Napadej Dhupatemiya thanked the House panel for accepting the air force's appeal and restoring the requested fund needed to proceed with the acquisition programme.
"If the US Congress doesn't approve the sale, the air force will return the sum to the state coffers," said ACM Napadej, he was quoted as saying in the Bangkok Post.
The House committee voted 45:22 with one abstention to approve 369 million baht for the scheme which would cost about 7.4 billion baht with funds to be allocated over the next four fiscal years.
The U.S. government has not approved the sale of its top-of-the-line fighters to any country other than its close and steadfast allies. Recently it rejected a request from Indonesia and offered the F-16V and F-15EX instead.

The RTAF operates older generation F-16 jets.

In Asia, only Japan and South Korea operate F-35 jets. Singapore has been approved to buy 4 F-35s with an option of 8 more.
Thailand has a diversified defense procurement policy. It has bought tanks and submarines from China and fighter jets from Sweden. The U.S. generally does not sell its fighter jets and other top line weapons to countries that buy from China or Russia.

Thai Parliament Approves Air Force's Proposal to buy Two F-35 Jets
F-15 jet ready for delivery: file image
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