Useful Notes / Thai Fighters
Technically named the "Royal Thai Armed Forces", the military of Thailand is a regional power. It's supplied by a mix of nations, with weapons from China and Russia, as well as England and America, and everyone in between. They have upwards of 200,000 troops, split between the Royal Thai Army, Navy (which has it's own Marine Corps and one of the oldest in Asia), and Air Force. The Royal Thai Army is the senior service and gets the bulk of the funding, the Air Force is ranked second and the Navy third. The Army has a laid-back, hands-off attitude to life that effectively hides the fact that it is pretty good at its job. The Army commanders see politics and military operations as being intimately combined and always consider political imperatives and consequences before taking military decisions. This leads to conceptual conflicts with allies who believe in apolitical military forces. On multinational exercises, the Thai Army cheats. All the time. This has led to resigned complaints from other participants about such things as officers buying fuel from commercial gas stations, having take-out food delivered to their troops and gaining masses of intelligence data from surrounding civilians who feel honor-bound to help "their" army win. The Air Force is also well-regarded and its pilots are seen as some of the most skilled in the region. Their problem is that equipment maintenance doesn't match up to that level. A distressingly high proportion of their aircraft are laid up due to servicing issues. Despite its lowly position on the totem pole of power and influence, the Royal Thai Navy operates one of only 21 aircraft carriers in the world, the HTMS Chakri Naruebet. It carried 6 second-hand Spanish "Matador" Harrier Jets up until 2006, after attempts to get more modern Harrier IIs from Great Britain fell through. Despite being the smallest modern aircraft carrier, it has served well in disaster relief efforts after several tsunamis over the years.