Country Listing

Thailand Table of Contents



Armed Forces: Total personnel strength about 273,000 in mid-1987; components were Royal Thai Army (190,000), Royal Thai Navy (40,000, including 20,000 marines), and Royal Thai Air Force (43,000). Conscription law required 2 years' military service by male citizens between ages of 21 and 30, except those granted exemptions for variety of reasons; about 30,000 inducted annually. Reserves totaled approximately 500,000, most having served in army.

Combat Units and Major Equipment: Army organized into seven infantry divisions (including five tank battalions), one armored division, one cavalry division (with an armor capability), eight independent infantry battalions, two special forces divisions, one field artillery division, and one air defense artillery division. Naval combat forces included Royal Fleet of some 150 vessels and brigade of Royal Thai Marine Corps composed of one artillery battalion, six infantry battalions, and one amphibious assault battalion. Air force consisted of one forward ground attack squadron, two fighter-interceptor squadrons, one armed reconnaissance squadron, three transport squadrons, one utility squadron, two helicopter squadrons, one training squadron, seven counterinsurgency squadrons, and four battalions of airfield defense troops. Equipment inventory included about 150 combat and 100 support aircraft. Combat aircraft included thirty-eight F-5E and F-5F fighter-bombers; twelve F-16 fighters scheduled for delivery in 1988. In 1987 bulk of armored fighting vehicles, artillery, missiles, aircraft, and naval vessels provided by United States; additional sources included Britain, Italy, Israel, Canada, France, Indonesia, Japan, and New Zealand. Domestic arms industry growing rapidly.

Military Budget: In the mid-1980s, outlays for national defense, including internal security costs, averaged about 30 percent of total annual government expenditures and about 4.2 percent of GNP.

Police Agencies and Paramilitary Forces: Thailand National Police Department total personnel strength about 110,000 in 1987; major operational components included Provincial Police, Metropolitan Police, Border Patrol Police (BPP), and Central Investigation Bureau. Paramilitary forces included BPP and civilian militia-like Volunteer Defense Corps; both used in suppressing armed insurgency supported by Communist Party of Thailand.

Foreign Military Alliances: United States remained committed to Thai security under Rusk-Thanat agreement of 1962 between United States and Thailand.

Data as of September 1987