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"Royal Thai Air Force March" | mascot = | anniversaries = 9 April 1937
(Royal Thai Air Force Day) | equipment = | equipment_label = | battles = * World War I ** Western Front * Boworadet rebellion * World War II ** Franco–Thai War ** Japanese invasion of Thailand ** Pacific War ** South-East Asian Theatre ** Malayan Campaign ** Burma Campaign ** Bombing of Bangkok * Manhattan Rebellion * Cold War ** Korean War ** Malayan Emergency ** Laotian Civil War ** Cambodian Civil War ** Vietnam War ** Communist insurgency in Thailand ** Communist insurgency in Malaysia ** Third Indochina War ** Cambodian–Vietnamese War ** Vietnamese border raids in Thailand ** Thai–Laotian Border War * The Hijacking of Garuda Flight GA 206 (Woyla Operation) 1981 * Persian Gulf War * 1999 East Timorese crisis ** International Force East Timor * War on drugs ** Internal conflict in Myanmar ** Operation Border Post 9631 ** 2010–2012 Myanmar border clashes * 2003 Phnom Penh riots ** Operation Pochentong 1 * Global War on Terrorism ** Operation Enduring Freedom ** Iraq War ** OEF–Afghanistan (Humanitarian) ** OEF–Horn of Africa * Southern Insurgency * Cambodian–Thai border dispute * United Nations peacekeeping ** UNIKOM ** UNGCI ** UNTAC ** ONUB ** UNTAET ** UNOMSIL ** UNAMID ** UNAMA ** UNMIS ** Marawi crisis (Humanitarian) | decorations = | battle_honours = | battle_honours_label = | flying_hours = | website = http://www.rtaf.mi.th/en/Pages/default.aspx | commander1 = Air Chief Marshal Airbull Suthiwan | commander1_label = Commander-in-Chief | notable_commanders = Fuen Ronnaphagrad Ritthakhanee
Chalermkiat Vatthanangkun
Panieng Karntarat
Kaset Rojananil
Chalit Pukbhasuk
Itthaporn Subhawong
Prajin Juntong
Sukampol Suwannathat
Anudith Nakornthap
| identification_symbol = | identification_symbol_label = Roundel | identification_symbol_2 = | identification_symbol_2_label = Fin flash | identification_symbol_3 = | identification_symbol_3_label = Flag | aircraft_attack = Alpha Jet, F-16A/B Block 15 OCU | aircraft_bomber = | aircraft_electronic = Saab 340 AEW&C | aircraft_fighter = JAS-39C/D, F-16AM/BM, F-5E/F | aircraft_helicopter = UH-1, Bell 412, S-92, EC725 | aircraft_helicopter_attack = | aircraft_helicopter_cargo = | aircraft_helicopter_multirole = | aircraft_helicopter_observation = | aircraft_helicopter_trainer = | aircraft_helicopter_utility = | aircraft_interceptor = F-16 ADF | aircraft_patrol = | aircraft_recon = Saab 340B ELINT/COMINT, DA42 MPP, P.180 Avanti | aircraft_trainer = CT/4, T-41D, PC-9, DA42, L-39, T-50TH | aircraft_transport = C-130, BT-67, ATR-72, 737-400/800, A319/A320, A340-500, SSJ-100-95LR, AU-23 | aircraft_tanker = | aircraft_general = The Royal Thai Air Force or RTAF ( th|กองทัพอากาศไทย; ) is the air force of the Kingdom of Thailand. Since its establishment in 1913 as one of the earliest air forces of Asia, the Royal Thai Air Force has engaged in numerous major and minor conflicts. During the Vietnam War era, the RTAF was supplied with USAF-aid equipment.


History

In February 1911 Belgian pilot Charles Van Den Born was responsible for the first aircraft demonstration in Siam at Bangkok's Sapathum Horse Racing Course. King Rama VI was sufficiently impressed that on 28 February 1912 he sent three Army officers to France to learn to fly. After receiving their wings and qualification, the officers returned to Siam in November 1913, bringing with them eight aircraft: four Breguets and four Nieuport IVs), which formed the nucleus for the Aviation Section of the Army Engineering Division. In March 1914, they moved from Sapathum to Don Muang, north of Bangkok and it became the Royal Siamese Flying Corps under the Department of the Army Engineer Inspector General. Prince Purachatra Jayakara, Commander of the Army Engineers, and his brother Prince Chakrabongse Bhuvanath, were instrumental in the development of the Royal Siamese Aeronautical Service as it was renamed on 19 March 1919. In October 1936, it became an independent service and was renamed the Royal Siamese Air Force in March 1937. Two years later, when the kingdom was renamed Thailand, it became the Royal Thai Air Force. The Air Force during the years before the Second World War was a moderately-well equipped force made up of a mixture of French, American, and Japanese types. During the French-Thai War, the Thai Air Force achieved several air-to-air-victories in dogfights against the Vichy Armée de l'Air. During World War II, the Thai Air Force supported the Royal Thai Army in its occupation of the Shan States of Burma as somewhat reluctant allies of the Japanese and took part in the defense of Bangkok against allied air raids in the latter part of the war, achieving some successes against state-of-the-art aircraft like the P-51 Mustang and the B-29 Superfortress. During these times, the RTAF was actively supplied by the Japanese with Imperial Japanese Army Air Force aircraft such as the Ki-43 "Oscar," and the Ki-27 "Nate." Other RTAF personnel took an active part the anti-Japanese resistance movement. The Thai Air Force sent three C-47 Skytrains to support the United Nations in the Korean War. The Wings Unit, operating the C-47, also joined the anti-communist forces in the Vietnam War. Following the end of the Vietnam War in April 1975 the Thai Air Force took possession of 117 aircraft of the former South Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian air forces that had evacuated to Thailand. Along the border, the Thai Air Force launched many operations against communist forces, including the Ban Nam Ta Airfield Raid in Laos, and clashes between Thai and communist Vietnamese troops along the Thai-Cambodian border. In addition to the F-5E and F-5F fighter-bombers, OV-10C Bronco counterinsurgency aircraft, transports, and helicopters were added to the RTAF inventory. In 1985 the United States Congress authorized the sale of the F-16 fighter to Thailand. When the Cold War ended, the Thai Air Force participated in Operation Border Post 9631 along the Thai-Burmese border in 1999, and launched the evacuation of foreigners during the 2003 Phnom Penh riots in Cambodia.


Structure


The Air Force is commanded by the Commander of the Royal Thai Air Force (ผู้บัญชาการทหารอากาศไทย). The Royal Thai Air Force Headquarters is located in Don Muang Airbase, Bangkok, Thailand. The RTAF consists of headquarters and five groups, which are: command group, combat group, support group, education and training group, and special services group. #The headquarters group in bangkok consists of:royal thai air force headquarters support groups, royal flight aircraft administrative center, royal flight helicopter administrative center, air warfare center, office of public sector development and office of intellectual development. #Command group consist of RTAF secretariat, directorate of administrative service, personnel, intelligence, operations, logistics, civil affairs, information and communications technology, finance, inspector general, office of RTAF comptroller, internal audit, safety and judge advocate. #Combat group #The support group provides engineering, communications and electronics, ordnance, transportation, quartermaster, medical services support, civil engineering and transportation. #The education and training group coordinates and supervises all air force training programmes. #The special service group is responsible for research and development, the welfare of air force personnel, air police and coordinates the activities of Thai civil aviation with those of the air force.

Combat Group

The Royal Thai Air Force Combat Group is divided into 11 wings plus a training school, plus a few direct-reporting units. *RTAF Directorate of Air Operations Control *RTAF Security Force Command *RTAF Space Operation Center *Navaminda Kasatriyadhiraj Royal Thai Air Force Academy *Flying Training School : composed of 1st, 2nd and 3rd Flying Training Squadrons. Based at RTAFB Kamphang Saen in Nakhon Pathom Province *Wing 1 : Interceptor and fighter wing based at RTAFB Korat in Nakhon Ratchasima Province. *Wing 2 : Helicopter wing providing utility/transport and search and rescue. Normally based at RTAFB Khok Kathiam in Lopburi Province *Wing 3 : Unmanned aerial vehicle wing based at RTAFB Watthana Nakhon in Sa Kaeo Province. *Wing 4 : Light attack / Interceptor wing based at RTAFB Takhli in Nakhon Sawan Province. *Wing 5 : Transport and pecial mission wing based at RTAFB Prachuap Khiri Khan in Ao Manao, Prachuap Khiri Khan Province. *Wing 6 : Multi-role non-combat wing providing transport, mapping, communications and surveying. Based at RTAFB Don Muang in Bangkok. *Wing 7 : Interceptor and fighter wing based at RTAFB Surat Thani in Surat Thani Province. The wing is nicknamed, "Ferocious Shark of the Andaman" as well as "House of Gripen" as they fly Gripen aircraft. *Wing 21 : Interceptor wing based at RTAFB Ubon Ratchathani in Ubon Ratchathani Province. *Wing 23 : Attack wing based at RTAFB Udon in Udon Thani Province. *Wing 41 : Light attack wing based at RTAFB Chiang Mai in Chiang Mai Province. *Wing 46 : Transport/rainmaking wing based at RTAFB Phitsanulok in Phitsanulok Province. *Wing 56 : Forward operating base at RTAFB Hat Yai in Songkhla Province.

Squadrons

The following squadrons are currently active with the Royal Thai Air Force.

RTAF Security Force Command

The RTAF Security Force Command () is a Division size unit in the Royal Thai Air Force. It has been in existence since 1937. They are based near Don Mueang International Airport. The RTAF Security Force Command is the main ground forces which providing Infantry for protecting air bases and high value assets, Special forces, Combat Controller (CCT), Combat Rescue Officer (CRO), Pararescue, Tactical Air Control Party, and anti-hijacking capabilities. Royal Thai Air Force Security Force Command consist of 3 main Regiments and multiple support units. Additionally,air base protection Battalions and Anti-aircraft Battalions are each assigned to every air base of the RTAF.

Royal Thai Air Force Bases

The Royal Thai Air Force maintains a number of modern bases which were constructed between 1954 and 1968, have permanent buildings and ground support equipment. All but one were built and used by United States forces until their withdrawal from Thailand in 1976 when the RTAF took over the installations at Takhli and Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat). In the late 1980s, these bases and Don Muang Air Base outside Bangkok, which the air force shares with civil aviation, remain the primary operational installations. Maintenance of base facilities abandoned by the United States (Ubon, Udorn) proved costly and exceeded Thai needs; they were turned over to the Department of Civil Aviation for civil use. Nonetheless, all runways were still available for training and emergency use. By 2004 the Royal Thai Air Force had its main base at Don Muang airport, adjacent to Don Mueang International Airport. The RTAF also had large air fields and facilities at Nakon Ratchasima Ubon Ratchathani, and Takhli.


Directorate of Medical Services


First set up in 1913 in the same year as the Air Force, providing nursing services only, and over the years has gradually expanded. It operates Bhumibol Adulyadej Hospital and Royal Thai Air Force Hospital in Bangkok, as well as smaller hospitals at each wing. The directorate has made a teaching agreement with the Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University to train students at Bhumibol Adulyadej Hospital, accepting about 30 students per academic year.

Aircraft




Current inventory


The Royal Thai Air Force Saab JAS 39 Gripen


Armament




Budget

RTAF budgets are shown below by fiscal year (FY):

Rank structure

NOTE:Rank on paper, not actually used in the Royal Thai Air Force.

Aircraft insignia



Roundels



Tail markings



See also

*Royal Thai Air Force Museum *Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters *Military of Thailand *Royal Thai Army *Royal Thai Navy *Royal Thai Police *Napa-1

References

Notes Comments Bibliography * Wieliczko, Leszek A. and Zygmunt Szeremeta. ''Nakajima Ki 27 Nate'' (bilingual Polish/English). Lublin, Poland: Kagero, 2004. .

External links

*
RTAF Official website (English version)Royal Thai Air Force Whitebook on Gripen program (Thai)Royal Thai Air Force Press Release on Gripen program (Eng)Royal Thai Air Force VDO on Gripen program (Thai)Royal Thai Air Force Museum
Many Historical Aircraft Here (English Page available)

*ttp://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/thailand/rtaf.htm Globalsecurity.orgbr>Early history of the Airports of Thailand Authority
at j-aircraft.com {{Authority control Category:Military units and formations established in 1913 Category:1913 establishments in Siam Category:Air forces by country Category:Military of Thailand