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Bangkok looks to the future with new Thai fighters

17th January 2022 - 23:52 GMT | by Sompong Nondhasa in Bangkok

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The Royal Thai Air Force has its heart set on acquiring the F-35A, and has allocated initial funds. (Lockheed Martin)

Thailand wants nothing less than the fifth-generation F-35 in order to modernise its fighter fleet.

Thailand’s Cabinet approved THB13.8 billion ($445 million) on 11 January for the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) to procure new fighter jets to replace its F-16ADF fleet that was retired last year.

Via FY2023-26 budgets for a four-year period, ACM Napadej Dhupatemiya, the Air Force Commander, wishes to acquire the F-35A, whose flyaway cost has reduced from $142 million to $82 million over the years.

The MoD will add this acquisition to the 2023 Annual Budget Act, which then must be approved by the House of Representatives.

As with its existing F-16s, the RTAF can only procure the F-35A through the Foreign

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