Royal Thai Army

Royal Thai Army

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= Royal Thai Army

caption=Royal Thai Army Flag.
dates= 1874
country= Kingdom of Thailand
type= Army
size= 7 infantry divisions
1 armoured division
1 cavalry division
2 special forces divisions
1 field artillery division
1 air defense artillery division
command_structure=Royal Thai Armed Forces
motto= "เพื่อชาติ ศาสน์ กษัตริย์ และประชาชน" "(For Country, Religions, King, and People)"
colors= Red
march= "มาร์ชกองทัพบก (Royal Thai Army March)"
battles=World War I
French-Thai War
World War II
anniversaries=18 January
(Royal Thai Armed Forces Day)
commander1 = Anupong Paochinda
commander1_label = Commander-in-chief
commander2 =
commander2_label =
commander3 =
commander3_label =
notable_commanders = Phraya Phahol Pholphayuhasena
Plaek Pibulsonggram
Sarit Dhanarajata
Thanom Kittikachorn
Prem Tinsulanonda
Chavalit Yongchaiyudh
Suchinda Kraprayoon
Surayud Chulanont
Sonthi Boonyaratglin

The Royal Thai Army is the army of Thailand. It is the oldest and largest branch of the Royal Thai Armed Forces. The army was formed in 1874, partly as a response to new security threats following the Bowring Treaty with Britain, which opened up the country for international trade.


The Royal Thai Army is divided into 4 Army Regions:
* First Army Region - headquartered in Bangkok and is responsible for the country's western and central provinces including the capital city.
**1st, 2nd, 9th and 11th infantry divisions, and 1st Development division.
* Second Army Region - headquartered in Nakhon Ratchasima and is responsible fo the northeastern quadrant.
**3rd, 6th and 12th infantry divisions, and 2nd development division.
* Third Army Region - headquartered in Phitsanulok, responsible for the northern and northwestern parts of the kingdom.
**4th infantry division, 1st armor division, and 3rd development division.
* Fourth Army Region - headquartered in Nakhon Si Thammarat, responsible for southern Thailand.
**5th infantry division, and the 4th development division.

Altogether the army is organized into 7 infantry divisions (including 5 tank battalions), 1 armoured division, 1 cavalry division (with an armour capability), 8 independent infantry battalions, 2 special forces divisions trained and geared for small unit special and airborne operations, 1 field artillery division, and 1 air defense artillery division. 3 airmobile companies provided the ground force units with battlefield support.

The Royal Thai Army also controls at least one television network, the Thai Global Network.

Royal Guards

The Royal Guards were established by King Chulalongkorn the Great of Thailand in 1859, when he was still a prince. Initially, the Royal Guards were servants with duties such as scaring crows, which led to commoners referring to them as the "Mahardlek Laikar," roughly translated as "soldiers who are not useful."

When he succeeded his father in 1868, King Chulalongkorn took his Royal Guard and formed a 24-strong Royal Bodyguard, referred to as the "Taharn Songlow." In 1870, the Royal Guard regiment were given the name the "King's Guard" and their duties included escorting the king while he travelled around the country.

The Royal Guards still exist in the present and serve as protectors of the Royal Family of Thailand. [ [] ]


The Army Tactical Level Advanced Simulation (ATLAS) is an interactive, distributed, constructive simulation used to conduct military Command Post Exercises (CPX) within the RTA. ATLAS utilize a continuous terrain model, incorporates HLA 1516, and displays 1:250,000 1:50,000 and Satellite Imagery. ATLAS was developed between 2002 and 2005 through cooperation with RTA Command and General Staff College (CGSC).


Main Combat Weapons:

mall Arms


The Royal Thai Army is known to operate the following aircraft types:
*British Aerospace Jetstream 41 - 2 aircraft (serial numbers 41060 and 41094) based with the VIP unit at Don Mueang Airport.
*Beechcraft 200 King Air - 2 aircraft (serial numbers 0342 and 1165) based within the Lop Buri Army complex
*Beech 1900C-1 - 2 aircraft (serial numbers 0169 and 0170) based with the VIP squadron at Don Mueang airport.
*Casa 212-300 - 2 aircraft (serial numbers 446 and 447) based with the VIP squadron at Don Mueang airport.
*Bell 206 Jet Ranger - Both the Bell 206A and Bell 206B in use, around 25 examples in total.
*Bell UH-1H - probably over 100 examples in the inventory, but considerably less are airworthy.
*Bell AH-1F Huey Cobra - 3 still flying (serial numbers 9996,9997 and 9998), a fourth example serial number 9999 was lost in a crash in 2001.
*Sikorsky S-70-43 Blackhawk - 7 helicopters delivered (serial numbers 6927,6928,6929,7002,7003,7025 and 7026), 2 further examples on order.
*Schweizer S-300C - around 45 of these helicopters delivered for ab initio training and observation.
*Cessna U-17B - around 15-20 of these Vietnam era FAC aircraft still flying.
*Cessna T-41B - around 20-30 of these ex US Army fixed-wing trainers still flying.
*Maule MX-7 - around 15 still flying as liaison and trainer aircraft.
*Bell 212 - around 50-60 examples in total, but less than this are airworthy.
*Bell 412 - 2 helicopters recently delivered for the use of the Crown Prince.
*CH-47D Chinook - 6 examples in service.

Known aviation bases

*Don Mueang Airport (VTBD)
**Units here include the VIP squadron, flying 2 Jetstream 41 (serial numbers 41060 and 41094), 2 Casa 212-300 (serial numbers 446 and 447) and 2 Beech 1900C-1 (serial numbers 0169 and 0170) and the 1st Infantry Battalion operating 2 Bell 206B (serial numbers 4422 and 4448), 3 Schweizer S-300C (serial numbers 1340,1366 and 1367) and 2 Cessna U-17B FAC aircraft (serial numbers 1616 and 1617).

*Bang Khen (3 km south of Don Mueang)
**The Royal Squadron flies 3 Bell 212 and 2 Bell 412 (serial numbers 36332 and 36333) from here. There is also a special transport unit flying around 10-12 Bell 212 and 1 or 2 Bell 206 based here.

*Camp Surasri
**The 9th Infantry Battalion operates 2 Bell 206B (the serial number of 1 is 4424), and 2 or 3 Schweizer S-300C. There is also a detachment of UH-1H from an Air Mobility Company here.

*Camp Jakapong (Prachin Buri)
**The 2nd Infantry Battalion "The Queen's Guard" was operating 2 Bell 206B (serial numbers 4446 and 4461), 3 Schweizer S-300C (serial numbers 1343, 1344 and 1345) and 2 Maule MX-7 (one serial number known is 099) in 2004, however it is likely the Maule MX-7 may now not be operated by this unit now. A detachment of this unit (with in 1998 1 Bell 206 and 1 Maule MX-7) was operating from Watthana Nakhon (VTBW) near the Cambodian border.

*Phitsanulok Airport (VTPP)
**Loc 16 degrees 46'58.58N,100 degrees 16'44.84E elevation 154 feet/47 meters.
**Runway 14/32 length 9843 feetx148/3000x45 meters
**Operating from here is the 4th Infantry Battalion with Bell 206B,Schweizer S-300C,Cessna U-17B and Maule MX-7.

*Camp Suranaree (Khorat)
**The main flying unit here is the 3rd Infantry Battalion flying 2 Bell 206B (serial numbers 4396 and 4447), 2 Schweizer S-300C (serial numbers 1337 and 1339) and 2 Cessna U-17B (serial numbers 1454 and 1618).
**This field also hosts a detachment of up to 3 Bell 212 helicopters from one of the Air Mobility Companies.

Lop Buri, the main base complex of the Royal Thai Army Aviation, which includes training, technical school, aircraft maintenance and aircraft storage.
*The main airfield here is called Sa Pran Nak (VTBH)
**Loc 14 degrees 56'58.02N,100 degrees 38'34.88E elevation 95 feet/29 meters.
**Runways 01/19 3300x98 feet/1006x30 meters and 06/24 3890x98 feet/1186/30 meters
**Operating units here include
***Gong Bin Pee-ak Moon Tee Nung - in English Air Mobility Company 1 - operating Bell UH-1H and Bell 212
***Gong Bin Pee-ak Moon Tee Song - in English Air Mobility Company 2 - operating Bell UH-1H and Bell 212
***Gong Bin Pee-ak Moon Tee Sam - in English Air mobility Company 3 - operating Bell UH-1H,Bell 206B and Bell 212
***Gong Bin Pee-ak Moon Tee Gou (pasom) - in English Air Mobility Company 9 (Mixed) - operating Bell AH-1F Huey Cobrs(3), Bell 212 and Sikorsky S-70-43 Black Hawk(7) with 2 more on order.
***The Chinook fleet is also based here.
*** The army aviation centre is based here, which conducts conversion training for the army. Types operated are Cessna T-41B (ex US army surplus), Maule MX-7, Schweizar S-300C piston trainer helicopters.
***The 2 former VIP Beechcraft 200 King Air airplanes, serial numbers 0342 and 1165 are also based here. Their present role is unknown. These airplanes were modified in the USA in the late nineties.

A separate airfield within the Lop Buri complex (only around 3 km south of Sa Pran Nak) houses the 5th aircraft maintenance Company. This unit is responsible for maintenance and storage of army aircraft and helicopters.

*The 6th Infantry battalion is based near Ubon Ratchatani.

*Other known army aviation bases include Nakhon Si Thammarat(VTSF)


* IAI Searcher - short-range battlefield reconnaissance UAV (4)

Rank and insignia


News about Royal Thai Army procurement program

2008 Cambodian-Thai stand-off

2008 Cambodian-Thai stand-off began between Royal Cambodian Army and Royal Thai Army as the latest round of a century-long dispute involving the area surrouding Preah Vihear Temple between Amphoe Kantharalak, Sisaket Province and Choam Khsant District, Preah Vihear Province where Thailand claims that demarcation has not yet been completed. It has now extended to the Ta Moan Thom complex between Surin Province and Oddar Meancheay Province which eventuate from Preah Vihear stand-off.

New Rifle, Machine Gun, MANPAD

Royal Thai Army buys 15,000 TAR-21s Tavor and 992 Negevs Machine Gun from Israel in the deal worth 43.3 mil$ [ [] Thai Cabinet Approves Defense Equipment Buys]

On 9 september 2008, Cabinet approved a package of defense modernization deals. RTA will buy another batch of 15,037 TAR-21s Tavor and 553 Negevs Machine Gun. Also RTA will procured 36 Iglas MANPAD from Russia. [ [] Thailand Plans $191.3M Arms Purchase ]

New Armored Personnel Carrier

Royal Thai Army announces that it is award the contact to Unkraian firm to supply 96 BTR-3E1s in the budget of 4,000 million Baht [ [ Ukrainian Observer Online] Ukraine Snags Large Armored Personnel Carrier Deal in Thailand] But the deal faces setback about the accusation of corruption during the evaluation process. Military-appointed government during the coup decided to let the elected government to decide if RTA will continue buying BTR-3E1s or restart the evaluation process. [ [ The Nation] Army required to clear doubt of auditor-general over APCs purchase first: Boonrawd ]

On 23 July 2008,PM Samak approved the deal and the project is moving on. RTA will revieved the first model in 2009 - 2010. [ [] หมัก' อุบอิบเซ็นซื้อรถหุ้มเกราะยูเครน 3.8 พันล. 96 คัน พร้อมตั้งจนท.'สตง.'ร่วมสอบ (Thai)]

VIP transport Aircraft

Royal Thai Army and Royal Thai Navy signed contact with Embraer to perchase 2 ERJ-135. 1 aircraft to each force. It will uses for VIP transportation. RTN version also have a MEDEVAC capability. [ [ Embraer Press Release] Embraer sign contracts with the Royal Thai Army and the Royal Thai Navy]


ee also

*Battle of Phou Pha Thi, (Northeastern Laos, March 1968) covert Thai "volunteers"
*Military of Thailand
*Royal Thai Navy
*Royal Thai Air Force


* [ Royal Thai Army]

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