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Thailand orders eight additional T-50TH trainers

Updated: Corrected to reflect that while cabinet has confirmed acquisition, formal contract signing has yet to occur.

Thailand has ordered eight additional Korea Aerospace Industries T-50TH advanced jet trainer aircraft.

The deal was approved by Thailand's cabinet on 11 July, says a source familiar with the acquisition. Media reports in from Thailand peg the value of the deal at Bt8.8 billion ($259 million). A contract signing is likely later this month.

This follows a deal in September 2015 for four T-50TH jets. Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that two aircraft from this original order will be delivered in December 2017, and two in June 2018.

Fleets Analyzer shows that Thailand operates 19 Dornier Alpha Jets with an average age of 35.1 years, and 35 Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatross jets with an average age of 23.8 years.

The Alpha Jet's primary role is listed as ground attack, with a secondary trainer mission. The L-39s, however, are primarily used as trainers, with a secondary role as ground attack platforms.

Powered by the General Electric F404 engine, Thailand's T-50THs will replace the L-39s.

Fleets Analyzer shows 180 T-50 family aircraft in service. Firm orders, not including the additional Thailand jets, stand at 22.

Users include South Korea (145), Indonesia (15), the Philippines (12), and Iraq (six). The T-50 also forms the basis of Lockheed Martin's bid for the USAF's T-X competition to replace the aged T-38 Talon jet trainer with at least 350 new aircraft.

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