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Textron Aviation Defense has been awarded a contract to deliver eight Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine aircraft for the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF).

The $143m contract will see the company provide an ‘integrated system’ in support of the Chiang Mai Air Base’s 41st Wing light attack operations.

It also covers ground support equipment, spare parts, training and other equipment.

With the contract award, Thailand has become the international launch customer for the light-attack and armed reconnaissance aircraft.

Textron Aviation Defense president and CEO Thomas Hammoor said: “We are honoured the Royal Thai Air Force has competitively selected the Beechcraft AT-6 to conduct a broad array of missions in support of its border security and its anti-smuggling, counter-narcotics and anti-human trafficking operations.

“The RTAF is a key US security ally and operator of one of the most advanced airforces in Asia Pacific.

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“Its extensive market research and stringent procurement process sought the alignment of best cost, schedule, and performance to replace its existing fleet of ageing Aero L-39 Albatros aircraft and advance the capabilities of its fleet with the latest technology.”

Work under the contract will be carried out at Textron Aviation’s facilities in Kansas, US.

Designed and manufactured by Textron Aviation Defense, the Beechcraft AT-6 Wolverine is based on the industry-proven design of the T-6 series aircraft provided by Beechcraft.

In Thailand, the aircraft is designated the Beechcraft AT-6TH.

According to Textron, the latest contract is in accordance with the Thai Government’s S-Curve 11 programme.

It also supports the defence relationship between Thailand and the US and the RTAF’s ten-year Purchase and Development (P&D) Plan.

Last year, the service placed a contract with the company for delivery of 12 Beechcraft T-6C Texan II advanced military training aircraft and associated equipment.

The 12 T-6C Texan II are expected to join the service between late next year and early 2023 while the AT-6TH will join the fleet in 2024.