Thai Military Aircraft Designations

Copyright © 2001-2005 Andreas Parsch

1 The Thai Alphabet

2 Thai Aircraft Designation System

3 Designation Listing

4 Sources

1 The Thai Alphabet

The Thai language does not use the latin alphabet. In this document, the Thai letters are replaced by the latin transcription. Some Thai letters are normally represented by more than one latin letter, resulting in apparent two-letter codes (e.g. Kh, Ph, Th). It must be remembered that these are actually single letters in Thai. Another problem in the transcription is ambiguity, because several Thai letters share the same transcription (e.g. Kh, Th, T). This is especially problematic for the designations' suffix letters (see below).

Note: A version of this document, which shows both the original Thai letters and the latin transcriptions is available here.

2 Thai Aircraft Designation System

Thailand's air arm was formed (as Army Air Corps) in 1914, and became a separate service (the Royal Thai Air Force RTAF) in 1937. Almost from the beginning, an alpha-numerical aircraft designation system was used, which has continued to this day. The system is similar in concept to that used by the USA and other countries. Mission/type letter(s) designate the primary mission or type of the aircraft, and are followed by a sequential number and an optional series letter. The designation system is used only by the RTAF, and not by the Navy and Army air arms.

Examples: B. Kh . 18 C
B. J F . 13
H . 6 B
(1) (4) (2) (3) (5)

(1) Each designation is prefixed by "B.", which is an abbreviation for the Thai word "bin" for "aeroplane". In helicopter designations, the "B." is frequently omitted.

The basic designation consists of a mission/type code (2) and a sequence number (3). As in the U.S. system, a separate numerical sequence is used for each mission/type letter. A dot "." is used instead of a dash "-" to separate mission/type code and sequence number. The following mission/type codes are defined:

The optional letter (4) is the equivalent of the U.S. system's "modified mission symbol", e.g. an attack (J) version of a trainer (F) is designated as "JF". The letters are the same as those in the above mission letter listing.

The suffix letter (5) is optional and indicates a modification. The letters are assigned alphabetically. The first version uses no suffix, and the first modification gets suffix "K" (first letter in the Thai alphabet), etc.
Note: The first letters of the Thai alphabet are transcribed as K, Kh, Kh, Kh, Ng, J, ... . Because of the similarity of the initial letters and the inability to distinguish between the second, third and fourth letters in latin transcription, I use the suffix letters A, B, C, ... in the designation transcriptions.

3 Designation Listing

B.Kh - Fighter

Designation Manufacturer Model; Remarks
B.Kh.1 Nieuport Type 13
B.Kh.2 Nieuport Type 15
B.Kh.3 SPAD Type 7, Type 13
B.Kh.4 Nieuport-Delage NiD 29C-1
B.Kh.5 ASW Prachadhipok (ex B.ThO.1)
B.Kh.6 Bristol Bulldog II
B.Kh.7 Boeing Model 100 (P-12E)
B.Kh.8 Heinkel He 43D
B.Kh.9 Curtiss Hawk II
B.Kh.10 Curtiss Hawk III
B.Kh.11 Curtiss Hawk 75N
B.Kh.12 Nakajima Ki-27 Otsu
B.Kh.13 Nakajima Ki-43-II Hayabusa
B.Kh.14 Supermarine Spitfire FR.14/PR.19
B.Kh.15 Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat
B.Kh.16 Republic F-84G Thunderjet
B.Kh.17 North American F-86 Sabre; variants include B.Kh.17 (F-86F) and B.Kh.17A (F-86L)
B.Kh.18 Northrop F-5; variants include B.Kh.18 (F-5A), B.TKh.18 (RF-5A), B.Kh.18A (F-5B), B.Kh.18B (F-5E) and B.Kh.18C (F-5F)
B.Kh.19 General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon; variants include B.Kh.19 (F-16A) and B.Kh.19A (F-16B)

B.KhF - Fighter-Trainer

Designation Manufacturer Model; Remarks
B.KhF.1 Aero L-39ZA/ART Albatros

B.J - Attack

Designation Manufacturer Model; Remarks
B.J.1 Vought V-93S Corsair
B.J.2 Mitsubishi Ki-30 M103
B.J.3 Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldiver
B.J.4 Fairey Firefly FR.1/T.2
B.J.5 Rockwell OV-10C Bronco
B.J.6 Cessna A-37B Dragonfly
B.J.7 Dassault-Bréguet/Dornier Alpha Jet A

B.ThO - ???

Designation Manufacturer Model; Remarks
B.ThO.1 Pazmany PL-2

B.T - Observation and Reconnaissance

Designation Manufacturer Model; Remarks
B.T.1 Hunting Percival P.54 Pembroke
B.T.2 Cessna O-1A/E/G Bird Dog

B.Th - Bomber

Designation Manufacturer Model; Remarks
B.Th.1 Breguet Bre.14A/14B
B.Th.2 ASW Boripatra (ex B.ThO.1)
B.Th.3 Martin Model 139WSM
B.Th.4 Nakajima Ki-21-I

B.ThO - manufactured in Thailand

Designation Manufacturer Model; Remarks
B.ThO.1 ASW Boripatra (became B.Th.2) and Prachadhipok (became B.Kh.5)
B.ThO.2 RTAF RTAF-2; copy of Beech Bonanza
B.ThO.3 - Cancelled project
B.ThO.4 RTAF RTAF-4 Chantra (became B.F.17)
B.ThO.5 RTAF RTAF-5; one prototype only

B.T - Utility

Designation Manufacturer Model; Remarks
B.T.1 Helio U-10B Courier
B.JT.2 Fairchild AU-23A Peacemaker

B.PhTh - Aerial Mapping

Designation Manufacturer Model; Remarks
B.PhTh.1 Cessna Model 411A
B.PhTh.2 Beechcraft Queen Air; variants include B.PhTh.2 (Queen Air B80) and B.PhTh.2A (Queen Air A80)
B.PhTh.3 Beechcraft King Air A90
B.PhTh.4 Rockwell Aero Commander 690A
B.PhTh.5 Beechcraft King Air B200

B.F - Trainer

Designation Manufacturer Model; Remarks
B.F.1 Nieuport Type 23
B.F.2 Nieuport Type 18
B.F.3 Piper PT-1
B.F.4 Avro 504N
B.F.5 Vought V-93S Corsair
B.F.6 Tachikawa Ki-36
B.F.7 Miles Magister Mk.I
B.F.8 North American AT-6/T-6 Texan
B.F.9 DeHavilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk
B.F.10 DeHavilland D.H.82A Tiger Moth Mk.II
B.F.11 Lockheed T-33; variants include B.F.11 (T-33A) and B.TF.11 (RT-33A)
B.F.12 Cessna T-37B/C
B.F.13 North American T-28 Trojan; variants include B.F.13 (T-28D) and B.JF.13 (AT-28D)
B.F.14 Cessna T-41D Mescalero
B.F.15 SIAI-Marchetti SF.260MT
B.F.16 NZAI CT-4 Airtrainer; variants include B.F.16 (CT-4A/B) and B.F.16A (CT-4E)
B.F.17 RTAF RTAF-4 Chantra (ex B.ThO.4)
B.F.18 RFB Fantrainer; variants include B.F.18 (Fantrainer 400) and B.F.18A (Fantrainer 600)
B.F.19 Pilatus PC-9

B.Ph - Civil

Designation Manufacturer Model; Remarks
B.Ph.1 Cessna Model 150H

B.R - Glider

Designation Manufacturer Model; Remarks
B.R.1 Hoffman H-36 Dimona
B.R.2 Grob G.109

B.L - Transport

Designation Manufacturer Model; Remarks
B.L.1 Beechcraft C-45B/F
B.L.2 Douglas C-47 Skytrain; variants include B.L.2 (C-47), B.JL.2 (AC-47) and B.TL.2 (RC-47)
B.L.3 Douglas C-54 Skymaster
B.L.4 Fairchild C-123 Provider; variants include B.L.4 (C-123B) and B.L.4A (C-123K)
B.L.5 BAe (Hawker-Siddeley) HS.748-208
B.L.6 Swearingen Merlin; variants include B.L.6 (Merlin III/IV A) and B.TL.6 (Merlin IV C)
B.TL.7 IAI M201TH Arava EW
B.L.8 Lockheed C-130 Hercules; variants include B.L.8 (C-130H) and B.L.8A (C-130H-30)
B.L.9 GAF N22B Nomad; variants include B.L.9 and B.TL.9
B.L.10 Douglas DC-8-62AF
B.L.11 Boeing Model 737; variants include B.L.11 (737-2Z6), B.L.11A (737-3Z6) and B.L.11B (737-4Z6)
B.TL.12 Lear Learjet M35A
B.L.13 Airbus A310-324
B.L.14 Alenia G.222
B.L.15 Airbus A319-115CJ


Designation Manufacturer Model; Remarks
B.W.1 Developmental Sciences R4E-30 SkyEye

B.S - Liaison

Designation Manufacturer Model; Remarks
B.S.1 Fairchild F24J/K Forwarder
B.S.2 Rearwin M9000KRT Sportster Deluxe
B.S.3 Piper Cub; variants include B.S.3 (L-4H/J) and B.S.3A (PA-11 Cub Special)
B.S.4 Stinson L-5/L-5B
B.S.5 Beechcraft M35 Bonanza
B.S.6 Grumman JRF-5 Widgeon
B.S.7 Cessna Model 170B

H - Helicopter

Designation Manufacturer Model; Remarks
H.1 Sikorsky/Westland S-51; variants include H.1 (Westland S-51 Dragonfly) and H.1A (Sikorsky YH-5A)
H.2 Hiller Model 360 (UH-12); variants include H.2 (UH-12) and H.2A (UH-12B)
H.3 Sikorsky S-55 (H-19 Chickasaw)
H.4 Sikorsky S-58; variants include H.4 (H-34B) and H.4A (S-58T)
H.5 Kaman HH-43B Huskie
H.6 Bell UH-1 Huey; variants include H.6 (UH-1H), H.6A (UH-1N), H.6B (Bell 412), H.6C (Bell 412(HP)SP) and H.6E (Bell 412EP)
H.7 Bell Model 47G (OH-13H Sioux)
H.8 Bell Model 206B-3
H.9 Eurocopter AS332L-2 Super Puma

H.PhT - Mapping Helicopter

Designation Manufacturer Model; Remarks
H.PhT.1 Bell Model 206P Jet Ranger II
H.PhT.2 Kawasaki-Bell Model 47G-3B-114

4 Sources

[1] Chris Thornburg: World Air Forces
[2] Steven Drake:
[3] Frank Noort: Scramble on the Web

Comments and corrections to: Andreas Parsch

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Last Updated: 20 April 2005