Melbourne, Australia – Thailand has taken delivery of its first Textron Aviation T-6C Texan II turboprop trainers, with the Southeast Asian nation planning to use them for training and as light-armed aircraft.
Two T-6Cs arrived at the Royal Thai Air Force or RTAF base Kamphaeng Saen northeast of the Thai capital Bangkok, with a welcoming ceremony attended by senior RTAF officials and U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Robert F. Godec according to Thai defence blog thaiarmedforce.com.
Images and videos of the trainers released by the RTAF showed that they carried the U.S. civil aircraft registration N2773B and N2792B for their delivery flight
Thailand ordered 12 T-6Cs under a $162 million contract in 2020. They’ll replace Pilatus PC-9 turboprop trainers that equip one of three squadrons with the RTAF’s flying training school at Kamphaeng Saen.
Defense News asked Textron for comment regarding the delivery. The company had said in 2020 when announcing the order that the T-6C will be used by the RTAF as the platform of an integrated training system.
Thailand also ordered eight AT-6 Wolverine light attack aircraft, signing a $143 million contract with Textron in November 2021. The U.S. ally is the first customer for the type.
These aircraft will be delivered starting in 2024 and will replace the Aero L-39 jet trainer, president and CEO of Textron Aviation Defense, Thomas Hammoor, said in 2021, adding that the AT-6s will be used to support border security as well as for anti-smuggling, counternarcotics and anti-human trafficking operations.
Flight tracking website Flightaware showed that Textron’s AT-6E demonstrator aircraft is also in Thailand, having arrived at Chiang Mai airport on the 15th of November. The aircraft, which carries the U.S. civil registration N610AT, was then flown to Kamphaeng Saen.
The AT-6 Wolverine is developed from the T-6 airframe and designed for light attack, armed reconnaissance and counterinsurgency missions and can employ weapons included laser-guided bombs and rockets.
Textron also says that the AT-6 is fitted with an L3 Wescam MX-15D multi-sensor suite, which provides color and IR cameras, laser designator, laser illuminator and laser rangefinder for weapons targeting and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance tasks.
Mike Yeo is the Asia correspondent for Defense News.