Textron Aviation Defense LLC today announced a US$162 million contract with the Royal Thai Air Force for training at its Kamphaeng Saen air base located in the northwest of Thailand. The Integrated Training System contract includes 12 Beechcraft T-6C Texan II military aircraft, ground-based training systems for pilots and maintenance professionals, a mission planning and debrief system, spare parts, and ground support equipment.
The 12 airplanes are expected to join the Royal Thai fleet between late 2022 and early 2023. The work o support of the contract will take place at Textron’s Wichita, Kansas, facilities.
“The Royal Thai Air Force operates one of the most advanced air forces in Asia Pacific and is a key U.S. security ally,” said Thomas Webster, regional director of Textron Aviation Defense Asia Pacific Sales, noting the contract will empower student pilots to transition to advanced fighter and attack aircraft.
The Beechcraft T-6 Texan II acquisition is in accordance with a 10-year Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) Purchase and Development (P&D) Plan published in 2020.
“This program 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 ACM Maanat Wongwat, Commander in Chief, The Royal Thai Air Force.
Textron Aviation Defense training of RTAF pilots and maintenance professionals is set to begin in Wichita in 2022. Textron plans to ferry two of the 12 aircraft — designated as the T-6TH — to Thailand, crating and transporting the remaining 10 aircraft to Kamphaeng Saen air base.
“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,” said Brett Pierson, vice president, strategy and sales, Textron Aviation Defense.
Textron notes the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II has logged more than 4.1 million flight hours to date, across a global fleet of nearly 1,000 aircraft. Each year more than 300 pilots from 42 countries graduate from T-6 training, according to Textron, via the NATO Flight Training program in Canada, the Euro NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program (ENJJPT) at Sheppard AFB in Texas and the U.S. Air Force Aviation Leadership Program.
Another 2,000-plus pilots graduate from T-6 programs across the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Coast Guard while more than 2,700 pilots graduate from T-6 programs across the Hellenic Air Force, the Argentine Air Force, the Israeli Air Force, the U.K. 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.