A team from the US Air Force will go to Thailand to evaluate if the southeast Asian nation is ready to operate F-35 fighter jets.
The Royal Thai Air Force announced earlier this year that it plans to procure the fifth-generation fighter jets to replace its aging fleet of combat aircraft.
Commander-in-chief Napadej Dhupatemiya revealed that the country was considering the purchase of eight to 12 F-35s and using drones to fly alongside them.
As part of the inspection, the US Air Force will look closely to determine if Thailand’s resources and capabilities can support the purchase of the state-of-the-art stealth fighters.
The Thai government has already approved a budget of 13.8 billion baht ($400 million) to purchase four F-35s.
The F-35 Combat Jet
Developed by Lockheed Martin, the F-35 fighter is an “agile, versatile, and high-performance” multi-role fighter that combines stealth, sensor fusion, and unprecedented situational awareness.
It features an advanced sensor package designed to gather and distribute vital information, giving operators a decisive advantage over adversaries.
It can fly at a range of more than 1,350 miles (2,172 kilometers) and a maximum speed of Mach 1.6 (1,975 kilometers/1,227 miles per hour).
Countries such as the US, the UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Denmark, Norway, and Australia were reportedly involved in developing the aircraft.