RTAF white paper to defend need to buy new fighter jets


The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) is to present a white paper next month outlining its strategies for the next 10 years and explaining why it needs to procure 12 new fighter jets, the RTAF chief said Tuesday.

Commander-in-Chief ACM Phanpakdee Pattanakul said the white paper laying out the RTAF’s strategies for development and modernisation over the next decade, would be

made public on February 29.

The white paper will explain how the RTAF intends to adjust itself to the global situation and new technologies, Phanpakdee said.

He added that the white paper will also lay out the Force’s plans to acquire 12 fighter jets to replace the ageing F16 jets that will be gradually decommissioned.

The procurement will be made in three phases in the RTAF’s annual budgets and take account of the national situation, the RTAF chief added.

The procurement of a new fighter jet fleet will start in fiscal 2025, and will either be composed of F16 craft from the US or Gripen jets from the Swedish aerospace and defence company Saab AB.

The RTAF’s last white paper was published in 2020 and outlined the various missions undertaken by the Force in air defence, combat operations, aerial reconnaissance, airlifts, and search and rescue.

It identified the capabilities needed to fulfil these missions effectively, including new fighter jets, drones, radar systems, and aircrew training.

The document emphasised transparency in procurement and modernisation efforts, encouraging collaboration with both domestic and foreign defence companies.