Local news

Prayut urged to clarify private use of F-16 fighter jets


By Thai Newsroom Reporters

PRIME MINISTER PRAYUT Chan-o-cha was today (Feb.2) told to clarify a private use of a couple of F-16 fighter jets, allegedly involving former air force chief Napadej Dhupatemiya.

Move Forward MP Pijarn Chaowapattanawong called on Prayut in his concurrent capacity of defence minister as well as air force spokesman ACM Prapat Sonjaidee to promptly give a truthful explanation about last August’s event in which the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon jets were used on private purposes of the then-air force chief Napadej.

Napadej allegedly managed to have the two F-16s fly above the sea in the upper part of the Gulf of Thailand in honour of his late father/former air force chief Prapan Dhupatemiya during an ash-floating ritual for the deceased, according to the Move Forward MP who said an unidentified air force officer had given him the information.

The “special mission” of each of the air force’s major combat aircraft conducted in the personal interest of the now-retired air force chief was believed to cost no less than 120,000 baht of the taxpayer’s money per hour, Pijarn said.

He said such private use of government property was undoubtedly considered an inappropriate conduct into which Prayut was strongly suggested to investigate and pinpoint who could have been held accountable for ordering the F-16s’ “special mission” which was irrelevant to regular ones.

A private use of significant government property may be considered a legal wrongdoing which could probably warrant a jail term for those involved, he said.


Top: Move Forward MPs, left, and a F-16 Fighting Falcon jet flying high, right. Photo: Matichon

Front Page: A Thai air force F-16 Fighting Falcon jet. Photo: Thai Rath

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