House Committee Reviews Air Force Appeal for F-35 Jets
BANGKOK (NNT) - A House committee will soon decide on whether to accept an appeal by the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) against a sub-committee’s decision to cut its purchase of two F-35A fighter jets valued at 7.38 billion baht from the government’s fiscal budget for 2023.
In his capacity as vice chairman of the subcommittee, Yuttapong Charasathien, a Pheu Thai Party representative for Maha Sarakham, ruled on Sunday (31 July) that the committee is investigating the matter but has not yet revised its initial decision.
The air force informed the committee that timing on the procurement is crucial if it is to avoid a backlog of orders from its international counterparts.
According to Yuttpong, the subcommittee on durable product items, state enterprises, ICT equipment and revolving funds previously decided unanimously to exclude the budget request from the spending plan for 2023.
Yuttapong reasoned that Thailand had incurred substantial debts as a result of the pandemic and that it would be inappropriate to seek additional loans to purchase new aircraft. The Pheu Thai representative added that it could take up to twenty months for the U.S. Congress to decide whether or not to approve the sale, urging the RTAF to be patient as it pursues funding.
However, he noted that the air force has the option to resubmit the request for allocations from the 2024 budget.
Air Force Chief of Staff ACM Panpakdee Pattanakul earlier stated that an appeal had been submitted to the subcommittee chairman and would be forwarded to the House committee studying the bill.
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Reporter : Paul Rujopakarn
Rewriter : Paul Rujopakarn
National News Bureau : http://thainews.prd.go.th