Royal Thai Air Force

Operator Profile

History

Narrative Summary

The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) is one of the oldest air forces in Asia, being formed in 1913. Three Thai Army officers, who had been sent to France for pilot training, returned in November 1913 with eight military aircraft. This formed the basis for establishing the Siamese Flying Corps, which operated under Army control until 1937, when it became an independent service called the Royal Siam Air Force. Two years later the service was renamed the Royal Thai Air force.

Key Dates

28 Feb 1912    First Thai Army officers sent to France for pilot training
2 Nov 1913    Siamese Flying Corps first established
1919    Siamese Flying Corps renamed Royal Siamese Aeronautical Service
1937    Royal Siamese Aeronautical Service renamed Royal Siamese Air Force
1939    Royal Siamese Air Force renamed Royal Thai Air Force

Current Status

The Royal Thai Air Force is fully operational.

Future Plans

To be added.

Markings

National Insignia

To be added.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

Since 1949, the RTAF has operated a sophisticated serial numbering system that describes the aircraft role, type, individual number and year of purchase. Full details are given on Steve Darke’s Thai-Aviation website – see link below. The number is displayed in Thai script in a relatively small font. In addition, aircraft often retain the serial number assigned by the previous operator, e.g. the US FMS serial.

Unit/Base Codes

Each RTAF aircraft carries an individual squadron code, in addition to the air force serial, which can be reused as aircraft are retired. For front-line aircraft the code is normally a five-digit number, while for second-line aircraft shorter numbers are often used.

Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

The RTAF has its own aircraft designation system which is incorporated into the aircraft serial number, as mentioned above.

Current Aircraft Inventory

Table of Current Service Aircraft

All-Time Aircraft Used List

All-Time Table of Aircraft Used

Aircraft NOT Used

To be added.

Organisation

Main Headquarters

Don Muang Air Base, Bangkok.

Organisational Structure

The RTAF is organised into four Air Divisions, each comprising two or three Wings. Each Wing has between one and six Squadrons.

Current Order of Battle

Table of Current Order of Battle

Historical Orders of Battle

To be added.

All-Time Flying Units List

To be added

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

See current order of battle.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

To be added.

More Information

Books

World Air Forces Directory 2013/14 by Ian Carroll (Mach III)

Magazines

World Air Power Journal Vo.8 p.145-146

Websites

Official Royal Thai Air Force website

wikipedia: Thai Air Force

Scramble: Thailand

Global Security: Royal Thai Air Force

Thai Aviation

Current Unit Order of Battle
Royal Thai Air Force

 Wing  Squadron Type Base
1st Air Division
2 Wing Lop Buri/Khok Kathiam
  201 Squadron Bell 412  
  202 Squadron Bell 412  
  203 Squadron UH-1H  
6 Wing Don Muang
  601 Squadron C-130H/H-30  
  602 Squadron (Royal Flight) A310, A319CJ, ATR 72  
  603 Squadron ATR 72  
  604 Squadron T-41D, CT/4A, DA42  
  904 Squadron F-5E  
  Tango Squadron* various  
2nd Air Division
1 Wing Khorat/Nakhon Ratchasima
  102 Squadron F-16A/B  
  103 Squadron F-16A/B  
21 Wing Ubon Ratchathani
  211 Squadron F-5E/F  
23 Wing Udon Thani
  231 Squadron Alpha Jet  
3rd Air Division
4 Wing Takhli
  401 Squadron L-39ZA  
  402 Squadron Learjet, DA42  
  403 Squadron F-16A/B  
41 Wing Chiang Mai
  411 Squadron L-39ZA  
  Tango Squadron* various  
46 Wing Phitsanulok
  461 Squadron BT-67  
4th Air Division
7 Wing Surat Thani
  701 Squadron Gripen  
  702 Squadron SAAB 340  
5 Wing Prachuap/Khiri Khan
  501 Squadron AU-23A  
 
Flying Training School Kamphaeng Saen
  1 Flying Training Sqn CT/4A, CT/4B, CT/4E  
  2 Flying Training Sqn PC-9  

* RTAF Historic Flight.

All-Time Aircraft Used List
Royal Thai Air Force

Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Out of Service Origin
Aeritalia G.222 6 1995 2011 Italy
Aero L-39ZA Albatros 38 1993 current Czech Republic
Aero Commander 685 Commander 1 1992 1997 USA
Aero Commander 690A Commander 1 1977 1988 Thai Army
Pacific Aerospace CT/4 Airtrainer 30 1974 current New Zealand
Pacific Aerospace CT/4E Airtrainer 24 1999 current New Zealand
Airbus A310 1 2006 current Thai Royal Flight
Airbus A319CJ 1 2004 current France
Airbus Helicopters H225M Cougar 8 2013 current France
ASW Boripatra 10 1927 1940 Thailand
ASW Prachadhipok 1 1929 19?? Thailand
ATR 72-212 4 2009 current France
Avro 504N 70 1930 1948 UK/Thailand
Beech C-45F Expeditor 6 1947 1971 Royal Air Force
Beech 35 Bonanza 3 1951 1962 USA
Beech 65 Queen Air 3 1971 1989 USA
Beech E90 King Air 3 1982 1989 Thai Army
Beech Super King Air 200 3 1993 current USA
Bell 47G Sioux 9 1972 1973 USA
Kawasaki KH-4 1 1982 1985 Japan
Bell UH-1H Iroquois 38 1968 current USA/Thai Navy
Bell 206 JetRanger 7 1995 2006 USA
Bell UH-1N 2 1976 1999 USA
Bell 412 11 1982 current USA
Boeing 100E/P-12E 2 1931 1949 USA
Boeing 737-200 1 2006 2006 Thai Royal Flight
Boeing 737-300 1 1983 1993 USA
Boeing 737-400 1 1995 2004 USA
Breguet Type III/1913/J/U1/L1 4 1913 1915 France/Thailand
Breguet Bre 14A2 ? 1919 1937 France/Thailand
Breguet Bre 14B2 ? 1919 1937 France/Thailand
Breguet Bre 14 Sanitaire 1 1926 1931 France
Breguet Bre 14T ? 1919 1923 France
Bristol Bulldog IIA 2 1930 1940 UK
Cessna 150 6 1971 2004 USA
Cessna 170H 9 1954 1959 USA
Cessna T-41D Mescalero 20 1968 current USA
Cessna O-1A Bird Dog 54 1967 1990 USA
Cessna A-37B Dragonfly 20 1972 1994 USA
Cessna T-37 30 1961 1996 USA
Cessna 411A 2 1982 1989 USA
Consolidated PT-1 4 1928 1939 USA
Curtiss Hawk II 12 1934 1949 USA
Curtiss Hawk III 24 1935 1949 USA
Curtiss Hawk IIIC 50 1937 1949 USA/Thailand
Curtiss Hawk 75N 12 1938 1949 USA
Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldiver 6 1951 1955 USA
Dassault-Breguet/Dornier Alpha Jet 25 2000 current Germany
de Havilland D.H.82A Tiger Moth 34 1951 1961 Australia?
De Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk 66 1949 1989 Canada/UK
De Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter 2 19?? 19?? Canada
Diamond DA42 Twin Star 11 2010 current Austria
Douglas C-47 Dakota 32 1948 1998 USA/SVNAF
Douglas AC-47 Dakota 14 1975 1998 USA/Cambodia
Douglas RC-47 Dakota 6 1976 1998 USA
Douglas EC-47D Dakota 1 1964 1966 USA
Basler BT-67 9 1998 current USA
Douglas C-54 Skymaster 2 1959 1966 ?
Douglas DC-8 3 1979 1989 ?
Fairchild F24J Forwarder 3 1938 1950 USA
Fairchild F24W40 10 1940 1950 USA
Fairchild C-123B Provider 22 1964 1989 USA
Fairchild C-123K Provider 20 1973 1991 USA
Fairey Firefly FR.1 10 1951 1955 UK
Fairey Firefly T.2 2 1951 1955 UK
Lockheed Martin F-16A Fighting Falcon 45 1988 current USA/USAF
Lockheed Martin F-16B Fighting Falcon 14 1988 current USA/RSingAF
GAF N22 Nomad Missionmaster 25 1982 2015 Australia
Grob G-109 2 1989 1994 W. Germany
Grumman F8F-1B Bearcat 29 1951 1960 USA
Grumman F8F-1D Bearcat 100 1953 1960 USA
Grumman J4F Widgeon/G-44A 5 1951 1976 USA
Hawker Siddeley H.S.748 6 1983 2015 Thai Royal Flt/Thai Awys
Heinkel He 43D 2 1930 1940 Germany
Helio U-10B Courier 12 1963 1986 USA
Helio U-10D Courier 8 1970 1986 USA/Laos
Hiller 360 Raven 1 1950 1952 USA
Hiller UH-12B 4 1952 1962 USA
Hoffmann H-36 Dimona 10 1983 1994 Austria
IAI 201 Arava 3 1980 2013 Israel
Junkers F 13? ? 1926 19?? Germany
KAAI 2K-1 ? 1940 19?? USSR
KAI T-50 Golden Eagle 4 South Korea
Kaman HH-43B Huskie 4 1962 1972 USA
Learjet 35A 3 1988 current USA
Lockheed C-130H Hercules 8 1980 current USA
Lockheed C-130H-30 Hercules 4 1983 current USA
Lockheed T-33A 48 1955 1995 USA
Lockheed RT-33A 8 1955 1995 USA
Martin 139-WSM 6 1937 1949 USA
Martin 139 3 1942 1949 USA
Martin 166 6 1943 1949 USA
Miles Magister 20 1947 1952 UK
Mitsubishi Ki-21 ‘Sally’ 9 1940 1949 Japan
Mitsubishi Ki-30 ‘Ann’ 24 1940 1951 Japan
Nakajima Ki-27 ‘Nate’ 12 1942 1945 Japan/Thailand
Nakajima Ki-43 ‘Oscar’ 24 1943 1949 Japan
Nakajima Ki-49 ‘Helen’ 1 1945 1945 Japan
Nieuport IIN 4 1913 1918 France
Nieuport IVG 1 1913 1914 France
Nieuport Penguion 1 19?? 19?? Thailand
Nieuport 11 2 1918 1927 France
Nieuport 12 1 19?? 1933 France
Nieuport 15 ? 19?? 19?? Thailand
Nieuport 17C1 1+ 1922 19?? France/Thailand
Nieuport 18 Baby 12 1918 1935 France
Nieuport 21C1 ? 19?? 19?? France
Nieuport 23 Baby 12 1918 1935 France
Nieuport 24C1 ? 19?? 19?? France
Nieuport 27C1 ? 19?? 19?? France
Nieuport-Delage NiD29C1 12 1923 1936 France/Thailand
Nihon Kogata Tobi 1 1941 19?? Japan
Nihon Kogata Hato 1 1941 19?? Japan
Nihon Kogata Ootori 1 1941 19?? Japan
North American F-86F Sabre 54 1961 1973 USA
North American F-86L Sabre 20 1963 1966 USA
North American T-6 Texan 210 1948 1974 USA
North American T-28D Trojan 45 1962 1984 USA
North American AT-28D Trojan 88 1962 1988 USA
North American OV-10C Bronco 32 1971 2004 USA
Northrop F-5A Freedom Fighter 20 1967 2003 USA
Northrop RF-5A Freedom Fighter 4 1970 2003 USA
Northrop F-5B Freedom Fighter 6 1965 current USA/Malaysian AF
Northrop F-5E Tiger II 42 1978 current USA/USAF
Northrop F-5F Tiger II 6 1978 current USA
Pazmany PL-2 2 1974 1974 Thailand
Percival Prince 3A 1 1952 1962 UK
Piaggio P180 Avanti 1 Italy
Fairchild AU-23A Peacemaker 36 1972 current USA
Pilatus PC-9 26 1991 current Switzerland
Piper L-4J Cub 42 1947 1959 USA
Piper PA-11 2 1951 1962 USA
Rearwin 8500 Sportster 2 1938 1947 USA
Republic F-84G Thunderjet 31 1956 1963 USA
RFB Fantrainer 400 11 1984 1994 W. Germany/Thailand
RFB Fantrainer 600 15 1984 1994 W. Germany/Thailand
RTAF-2 1 1957 1958 Thailand
RTAF-4 Chantra 6 1974 1989 Thailand
RTAF-5 2 1984 1985 Thailand
SAAB JAS 39C Gripen 8 2011 current Sweden
SAAB JAS 39D Gripen 4 2011 current Sweden
SAAB 340B 2 2010 current Sweden
SAAB 340B Erieye AEW 2 2010 current Sweden
SIAI Marchetti SF.260MT Warrior 13 1973 2000 Italy
SIAI Marchetti SF.260W 8 1978 2000 Italy
Sikorsky H-5A 1 1953 1954 USA
Westland Dragonfly 1A 3 1950 1954 UK
Sikorsky UH-19 Chickasaw 11 1954 1965 USA
Sikorsky UH-34D Choctaw 64 1962 1976 USA
Sikorsky S-58T 18 1978 2003 USA/Thailand
Sikorsky S-62A 4 1962 1989 Japan
Skyfox CA22 2 2005 20?? USA
Aerospatiale AS 332L2 Super Puma 3 1995 2002 France
SPAD S.7C1 31 1919 1931 France
SPAD S.13C1 2 1919 1931 France
Stinson L-5B Sentinel 10 1947 1959 USA
Supermarine Spitfire FR.14 30 1950 1955 UK
Supermarine Spitfire PR.19 1 1954 1955 UK
Swearingen Merlin IIIB 1 1981 1982 USA
Swearingen SA226-AT Merlin IVA 3 1979 1992 USA
Tachikawa Ki-55 ‘Ida’ 24 1942 1950 Japan
Transavia PL-12 Airtruk 14 1971 1994 Australia
Vought V-93S/O3U-3 Corsair 9 1934 1945 USA
Vought V-93SA Corsair 75 1934 1950 USA/Thailand

Current Aircraft Inventory
Royal Thai Air Force

Aircraft Type Total Del’d Total Active Still on Order Role
Dassault-Breguet/Dornier Alpha Jet 25 19 0 Attack/Trainer
Northrop F-5E Tiger II 42 30 0 Fighter-Bomber
Lockheed Martin F-16A Fighting Falcon 45 38 0 Fighter-Bomber
SAAB JAS 39C Gripen C 8 8 0 Fighter-Bomber
Piaggio P180 Avanti 0 0 1 Reconnaissance
SAAB 340B Erieye AEW 2 2 0 AEW
Diamond DA42 Twin Star 11 11 0 Reconnaissance/Trainer
Gates Learjet 35 1 1 0 Survey
Airbus A310 1 1 0 VIP Transport
Airbus A319CJ 1 1 0 VIP Transport
ATR 72-212 4 4 0 Transport
Basler BT-67 9 7 0 Transport
Lockheed C-130H Hercules 8 8 0 Transport
Lockheed C-130H-30 Hercules 4 4 0 Transport
Beech Super King Air 200 3 3 0 Transport
Fairchild AU-23A Peacemaker 36 16 0 Transport
SAAB 340B 2 2 0 Transport
Bell 412 11 8 0 Utility
Airbus Helicopters H225M Cougar 8 4 4 Utility
Bell UH-1H 38 17 0 Utility
Diamond DA42 6 6 0 Trainer
Northrop F-5B Freedom Fighter 6 1 0 Trainer
Northrop F-5F Tiger II 6 3 0 Trainer
KAI T-50 Golden Eagle 4 Trainer
Lockheed Martin F-16B Fighting Falcon 14 14 0 Trainer
SAAB JAS 39D Gripen 4 4 0 Trainer
Aero L-39 Albatros 38 35 0 Trainer
Pacific Aerospace CT/4 Airtrainer 30 27 0 Trainer
Pacific Aerospace CT/4E Airtrainer 24 21 0 Trainer
Cessna T-41D Mescalero 20 7 0 Trainer
Pilatus PC-9 26 23 0 Trainer

 

Take Off Magazine

Aviation-related Magazines Guide

‘Take Off Magazine’ is the only Thai magazine entirely devoted to the airline business. It features news and articles on commercial aviation and airlines. The emphasis is on topics related to Thailand and nearby countries.

Further information:
Facebook: Take Off Magazine
No official website found.

Wings Magazine

Aviation-related Magazines Guide

Established in January 2013, Thailand’s ‘Wings Magazine’ is a bi-lingual lifestyle, travel and aviation magazine. The magazine features articles on commercial airlines, air travel and travel destinations. The aviation contents is produced with the co-operation of the team from Thailand’s best-selling ‘Take Off Magazine’.

Further information:
Wings Magazine Thailand
Facebook: Wings Magazine

The Aerospace Magazine

Aviation-related Magazines Guide

‘The Aerospace Magazine’ was a monthly dual Thai/English language publication covering all aspects of aviation and aerospace.

In 2012 the official website stopped working, so the title is likely to have ceased publication.

Further information:
itunes app: The Aerospace Magazine

Air Force Magazine (2) / ข่าวทหารอากาศ

Aviation-related Magazines Guide

‘Air Force Magazine’ is the official magazine of the Royal Thai Air Force. Published monthly, it contains news and information about the activities of RTAF personnel and the aircraft they fly.

Further information:
Facebook: Air Force Magazine
Back issues on Issuu

Tango Squadron

Aviation-related Magazines Guide

Originally called ‘Tango Squadron’, this magazine now appears to be called just ‘Tango’. It is an aviation magazine that mainly deals with Thai aviation, but also includes some international features. Articles cover both historical and modern content. It contains a small scale modelling section.

Published by Tango Squadron. TANGO Squadron is a patriotic organization dedicated to the preservation of Thailand’s historic aircraft under the patronage of His Majesty, the King of Thailand, Rama IV. Each issue has about 120 pages, mostly in b/w, but often features several full colour pages on glossy paper. Issue 95 was dated January 2005. Thai only text.

Further information:
Official website no longer working.