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Super Tigers: New Upgrades to Keep Aging Thai F-5s Flying Into the 2030s

© Wikipedia / WikiMedia Commons / File Photo of F-5E Royal Thai Air Force jet
File Photo of F-5E Royal Thai Air Force jet - Sputnik International
The Thai Royal Air Force (TRAF) is enhancing the readiness of its fleet via an upgrade package that will transform four F-5E Tigers into bonafide F-5T Super Tigers.

The warplanes will receive Python-4 and I Derby beyond-visual-range air-to-air weapons, new radar systems, electronic warfare capabilities and "network-centric capabilities for disaster preparedness," the Air Force said in an August 2 announcement. 

Converting F-5Es into F-5Ts began in 2014 when the government authorized funds to upgrade 10 of the fighter-bombers, the Diplomat reported on August 8.

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Thai "F-5E fighter aircraft have been in service since 1978 and [are] considered a third-generation plane with limited capabilities," the service said. "With outdated technology, you cannot face current threats," the announcement noted.

Renovations will transform the jets into 4/4.5-generation aircraft, the service claimed, placing the jets on par with RTAF’s Lockheed F-16A/B Fighting Falcons and Saab JAS-39C/D Gripen warplanes. 

The aim of the $96 million project is to extend the planes’ useful life by 15 years, RTAF added.

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