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07:24 PM, September 16, 2016
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Royal Thai Air Force Lockheed C-130H Hercules

The Thailand Air Force is eyeing to buy a new fleet of transport aircraft to replace their ageing C-130 Hercules.

The competition between Shaanxi Aircraft Corporation Y-9 and Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules might emerge for procurement of new transport planes, an official was quoted as saying by Xinhua Friday.

There are also chances that rivalry may occur from a third manufacturing country, besides China and the US. However, details of the procurement plan are yet to be formulated, he said.

"The air force was looking to buy a new fleet of turboprop-engined transport aircraft to replace a dozen C-130H Hercules transport planes, deployed by the Thai Air Force since 1980," Retiring Air Force chief Trithod Sonchaeng said earlier.

Meanwhile, the new Thai Air Force chief Jom Roongsawang is expected to consider buying another four Saab JAS 39 Gripen fighters to add to an existing squadron of a dozen multi-role combat aircraft of the same type from Sweden.

The Air Force has 12 Gripen fighters at Air Wing 7 in the southern Surat Thani province. The Gripen squadron was procured in 2008 to replace the US-made F-5E Tiger fighters.

Late last month, two Russian-built transport planes were delivered to the Thai Air Force. The Sukhoi Superjet 100LR transport planes, each of which was sold for $US34 will fly as a passenger plane for members of the Royal Household and other VIPs. They were meant to join the Air Force's Boeing 737 and Airbus aircraft currently deployed on similar purposes.

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