17 Juli 2017

The defence budge has risen every year since 2014 (image : Bangkok Post)

PM Defends B8.8bn Jet Trainer Splurge

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has defended his government’s procurement of military hardware following criticism of the air force’s plan to purchase another eight T-50 jet trainers worth 8.8 billion baht from South Korea. 

Gen Prayuth urged the public Tuesday to understand the air force is in need of new trainer jets to replace the ageing Czech-made L-39 aircraft which have been in service for more than 30 years, while noting that those who suspect any irregularities are welcome to look in to the programme.

“Please understand the government does not throw state money into just buying military hardware and weapons as some people claim. The government has approved agricultural sector budgets of 20-30 billion baht a week on average. Budgets for each sector are separate,” he said. 

The first batch of four T-50 jet trainers will be deployed at Wing 4 in Nakhon Sawan’s Takhli district. Six air force officers are undergoing training. A source said the air force is scheduled to sign a deal for the second batch in South Korea on July 29 with Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI).

According to a source, maintenance costs of the ageing L-39 trainer jets have increased lately as their technology is obsolete.

See full article Bangkok Post

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