The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) has awarded a $143-million contract to Textron Aviation Defense LLC for the supply of eight AT-6 Wolverines, making it the first foreign customer of the US light-attack aircraft.
Made during the Dubai Airshow 2021, the agreement requires the American defense firm to provide ground support equipment, spare parts, training, and other necessary equipment for the aircraft’s operation.
Acquisition of the AT-6 Wolverines is expected to support Thailand’s military modernization efforts and its mutual defense cooperation with the US.
Textron president and chief executive officer Thomas Hammoor said the company is “honored” to have been selected by the RTAF for its new combat aircraft that could help the country in various missions, including border security, anti-smuggling, counter-narcotics, and anti-human trafficking.
“The RTAF is a key US security ally and operator of one of the most advanced air forces in [the] Asia Pacific,” he explained in a press release. “Its extensive market research and stringent procurement process sought the alignment of best cost, schedule, and performance to replace its existing fleet of aging Aero L-39 Albatros aircraft and advance the capabilities of its fleet with the latest technology.”
ICYMI: Textron Aviation Defense announced the Royal Thai Air Force as international launch customer for the @Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine aircraft.
The historic $143 million contract is for eight aircraft.
— Textron Aviation (@TextronAviation) November 15, 2021
The AT-6 Wolverine Aircraft
Based on the design of the T-6 series aircraft, the AT-6 Wolverine is a light-attack and armed reconnaissance aircraft capable of performing a wide range of missions, including manned intelligence surveillance, light precision attack, counter insurgency, airborne interdiction and intelligence, and maritime patrol.
The military vehicle also features an MX-15Di sensor suite, which captures real-time data and gathers information from the surroundings. It is equipped with an advanced video tracker, an infrared image processor, and a high-definition short-wave infrared camera.
The AT-6 Wolverines boasts more than 13 general and precision munitions that can be utilized for air support or light attack purposes. It can also be mounted with 2.75in laser-guided rockets.
Work for the Thai contract will take place in the company’s facility in Kansas. Textron will also begin training Thai maintenance professionals in 2023.