By Thai Newsroom Reporters
TWO SECONDHAND U.S.-built F-16 jet fighters were recently decommissioned by the Thai air force following their long years of service.
The two decommissioned combat aircraft were an F-16A jet fighter, which had been earlier deployed by the U.S. air force, and an F-16B jet fighter, earlier deployed by the Singaporean air force. The Fighting Falcon jet from the U.S. air force was among a squadron of 16 secondhand F-16s earlier provided by the superpower and the Singaporean one was among a squadron of seven secondhand F-16s earlier provided by the island republic.
Following a few decades of deployment by the Thai air force, the secondhand F-16 jet fighters were finally decommissioned by Air Wing 1, confirmed an air force officer.
Squadrons of other Fighting Falcon jets, the procurement of which dated back to 1988, have been modified with advanced avionics and air-to-surface and air-to-air missile and precision guidance systems over the past several years, he said.
Most of the Thai air force’s F-16 jet fighters, either being one-seat or two-seat combat aircraft, have been and are currently deployed by Air Wing 1 in Nakhon Ratchasima and Air Wing 4 in Takhli, Nakhon Sawan.
Four Thai air force F-16 jet fighters crashlanded from over a decade to half a decade ago. In one incident, an air force pilot was killed aboard his troubled F-16A fighter and in another event an air force pilot was killed aboard his ill-fated F-16A fighter. In a shared incident, two air force pilots managed to jettison to safety from two troubled F-16 ADF fighters during a routine exercise.
Meanwhile, the last five L-39 jet trainers were also recently decommissioned by Air Wing 41 in Chiang Mai.
A total of 40 Czech-built L-39 Albatros jet trainers have served the Thai air force since 1993. South Korean T-50 Golden Eagle jet trainers have gradually taken place of the retired Czech jet trainers.
Top: F-16A Century Falcon on display at The Centennial of RTAF Forefathers Aviation on June 30, 2012, Don Muang Airport, Bangkok. Photo: 123rf.com
Home Page: U.S. Air Force Capt. Joe Swinson, a pilot with the 14th Fighter Squadron, flies in an F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft alongside his wingman during a large-scale air defense and strike mission exercise at COPE Tiger 19 in Thailand, March 14, 2019.