By Thai Newsroom Reporters
THAILAND’S PLANNED PROCUREMENT of the first couple of Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighters might probably not be delivered until 2034, an air force source said over the weekend.
The air force’s initial procurement of two F-35A fifth-generation, stealth fighters has been earlier planned for delivery in 2032 but it might be further delayed for specific reasons until 2034, said the source who only spoke on condition that he not be named.
The first couple of F-35A state-of-the-art, multirole stealth fighters has been earlier estimated to cost a combined price of 7.38 billion baht.
Nevertheless, air force chief ACM Alongkorn Wannarot earlier said without elaborating that the air force’s planned procurement of the first couple of F-35 stealth jets had a “50:50” chance with respect to the international geopolitical situation surrounding Thailand and the Southeast Asian community.
It remains to be seen whether the US Congress will finally endorse the planned sale of the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II jets which the US government would have to approve in the first place.
The air force has earlier planned to buy a dozen of the US-built F-35A stealth fighters to meet regional challenges in high-technology, air superiority and airborne weapon systems whilst Vietnam, Malaysia and Myanmar have reportedly deployed or planned to deploy Russian-built Sukhoi Su-27 and Sukhoi Su-30 Flanker jets.
The air force has planned to decommission a number of Northrop F-5 Super Tigris fighters currently deployed at Wing 21 in Ubon Ratchathani and General Dynamics F-16A/B Fighting Falcon jets currently based at Wing 1 in Korat and at Wing 4 in Takhli. Those combat aircraft deployed since the last two or three decades are yet to be replaced with the Lockheed Martin F-35s.
Top: Two F-35s bank after receiving fuel over the Midwest on Sept. 19, 2019. Photo: Master Sgt. Ben Mota/US Air Force and published by Defensenews.com
Front Page: US Air Force Lockheed Martin F-35A. Photo: US Air Force and published by Flightglobal.com