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by Akhil Kadidal

The USAF is preparing to send a team to assess Thailand’s ability to operate F-35s. (US Air Force)

The United States will assess Thailand’s ability to operate the fifth-generation Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. The planned visit suggests that the country has moved closer to the potential acquisition of stealth fighters.

Talk to Janesa spokesman for the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) said: “We have been informed that the United States Air Force (USAF) is in the process of setting up a team to travel to Thailand for [assessment]as well as advice on good practices to prepare for the reception and use of the fifth generation fighter.

“However, we still don’t know the exact timing of the trip, as that will be decided by the US Air Force,” he added.

The US State Department declined to comment on details of the USAF visit and “potential purchases” from a “longtime ally and security partner”.

The USAF team will likely assess RTAF capabilities and infrastructure to determine if the Southeast Asian nation can sustain F-35 operations.



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