In the year 1966, RTAF first received F-5A/B as a military aid from United States. The first group of F-5B, Serial no. 63-8438, 63-8439, was arrived in Thailand by the sea. The aircraft was transported to Wing1 in Don Mueang International Airport, VTBD. (Today, Wing1 has move to Korat and Don Mueang is the home of Wing6) The reassembly and test flight was conducted here. Later commission in 13th sqn. of Wing1.
In 1976, All F-5A/B were transfer to 103 Snq. of Wing1 Korat and make the final journey to 701 Sqn. of Wing7 Surat in 1998.
Now it’s time to retire. All F-5B/E of 701 Sqn. will be replaced by JAS-39 Gripen in 2010 – 2011.
This aircraft, F-5B “The Oldest Tiger” or Fighter Type 18 A of RTAF, is the first supersonic fighter in Thailand. Despite the primary mission on fighter pilot training, she was paticipated in many battle such as the war on Communist during the cold war and the raid on Ban Nam Tha Airfield in Laos in 1988. During the 41 years in RTAF, the oldest tiger produced many RTAF finest pilot. Many of them has more than 1,000 flight hours and later become the Commander-in-Chief of RTAF. One of the most success student of this aircraft is ACM Chalit Pukpasuk, today is a Commander-in-Chief of RTAF, the first pilot in Thailand and in Asia who has more than 2,000 flight hours with F-5.
Today, students come together to honor their teacher on her retirement ceremony. The oldest tiger will be put as a static display aircraft in RTAF Children’s Day Air Show on 12 Jan 2008 at Don Mueang Airport and will be kept in Royal Thai Air Force Museum in Bangkok.
You can find more photo of this event here.
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ACM Putti Monkkrarapruk. Commander of Air Operation Command.
F-5E of 701 Sqn. flyby to honor The Oldest Tiger
ACM Chalit Pukpasuk, Commander-In-Chief of Royal Thai Air Force, greet the crew.
And have a photo taken with his teacher.
In Thailand we are very respect to the teacher that give us knowledges. So this is the same case, Royal Thai Navy Personnel event called their training ship as “The teacher”
All high-ranking officer with The Oldest Tiger and F-5E flying at the back. No doubt that many of them used to fly in The Oldest Tiger.
……..and RTAF public relation officer
Old Fighter Never Die. Just Fade Away.
44 years since she came out from production line. 41 years since commissioned in RTAF.
Do you smell JP-8?
Ready to return to hangar
We will not start the engine of The Oldest Tiger again.
The Oldest Tiger will be placed as a static display aircraft in RTAF Children’s Day Air Show on 12 Jan 2008. Togerther with the first public appearance of restored F8F bearcat.
….. and if we lucky enough, we will see The Oldest Tiger successor, JAS-39 Gripen in Children’s Day also.
Thank you for the long contribution to the country.