Military orders extra transport aircraft

Military orders extra transport aircraft

A photo released by Airbus Defence & Space shows a C295 airlifter, one of two the army currently has in its fleet. The force has ordered a third to be delivered in 2023.
A photo released by Airbus Defence & Space shows a C295 airlifter, one of two the army currently has in its fleet. The force has ordered a third to be delivered in 2023.

The Defence Ministry has placed a firm order for an additional Airbus C295 airlifter, according to a statement from Airbus.

This repeat order for a new aircraft, to be operated by the Royal Thai Army, will increase the country's C295 fleet to a total of three aircraft.

The aircraft will be delivered in 2023, in utility transport configuration. The C295 plays a key role in missions ranging from cargo transport to medical evacuation and paratrooping deployment.

Johan Pelissier, Head of Asia Pacific at Airbus Defence and Space said: "This additional order from the Ministry of Defence of Thailand speaks strongly of its continued confidence in our proven military transport capabilities."

"The C295 is gaining popularity in the Asia Pacific due to its modularity, manoeuvrability and endurance capability. The low cost of operation compared to any other platform of its class makes it a good prospect for militaries. We certainly look forward to supporting the growing C295 fleet in this region," he added.

This new Thai order follows a recent order for three C295 transport aircraft from an undisclosed military customer in the region.

This latest contract brings the total number of C295 ordered in the Asia Pacific region to 25.

A military source said army chief Narongphan Jitkaewtae opted for the C295 airlifter instead of a Gulfstream G500 under a budget granted prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Originally, the army wanted the Gulfstream business jet, priced at 1.34 billion baht to cater to VIPs while Gen Apirat Kongsompong was in charge, according to the source.

The procurement was controversial as it was seen as non-essential and a waste of money. In February, Gen Narongphan opted for the C295 airlifter instead.

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