Thai Air Force to send more surveillance aircraft to deep South

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BANGKOK, Oct 2 – The Royal Thai Air Force will deploy more aircraft on aerial surveillance missions in Thailand’s violence-plagued deep South by the end of this year, the air force chief said today.

Air Force commander-in-chief Air Chief Marshal Prachin Chantong said the Diamond DA42 aircraft will be used in aerial surveillance missions to support the ground security operations in the southern border provinces.

The aircraft, equipped with thermal video and digital cameras, will be able to perform its duty by December, said the air force chief.

Currently, ACM Prachin said, the air force deployed C130 aircraft to transport military personnel and other provisions, while the two Fairchild AU-23A Peacemakers have been used for aerial surveillance in the insurgency-torn region.

Marshal Prachin said the air force personnel who will man the Diamond DA42 will be the same group of those stationed at Taklee air force base in Nakhon Sawan province.

He said the air force is considering deploying additional personnel in Narathiwat or Pattani’s Nong Chik district and Songkhla’s Hat Yai district, to support ground operations of other agencies.