Royal Thai Navy
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|Royal Thai Navy
(RTGS: Kongthap Ruea, Ratcha Navy)
Emblem of the Royal Thai Navy
|Allegiance||King Rama IX|
|Branch||Royal Thai Armed Forces|
|Size||71,000 Active personnel
(53,000 Navy personnel)
(18,000 Marine Infantry)
|Garrison/HQ||Sattahip, Chonburi (main base)
Bangkok Noi, Bangkok (headquarter)
|Motto||ร่วมเครือนาวี จักยลปฐพีไพศาล (Join the Navy to see the world)|
World War I
French-Thai War (Battle of Koh Chang)
World War II
Piracy in the Strait of Malacca
Piracy in Somalia
|Commander-in-chief||Admiral Narong Pipathanasai|
|Royal Thai Navy Flag|
|Naval Jack and Unit Colour|
The Royal Thai Navy (Thai: กองทัพเรือ) is the navy of Thailand and part of the Royal Thai Armed Forces, it was established in the late 19th century. Admiral Prince Abhakara Kiartiwongse (1880–1923) is "The Father of Royal Thai Navy". Similar to the organizational structure of the United States, the Royal Thai Navy includes the Naval Fleet, and the Royal Thai Marine Corps. The Royal Thai Navy operates out of Sattahip Naval Base. Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country which operates an Aircraft carrier though it is used as a pure helicopter carrier with the retirement of the Harrier fighter wing. Moreover, Thailand is the 2nd nation of Asia to have submarines, following Japan.
The Royal Thai Navy operates in three Naval Area Commands:
- First Naval Area Command: responsible for the Northern part of Gulf of Thailand
- Second Naval Area Command: responsible for the Southern part of Gulf of Thailand
- Third Naval Area Command: responsible for the Andaman Sea (Indian Ocean)
The Royal Thai Navy also has two air wings, operating 40 fixed-wing aircraft and 30 helicopters from Utapao, Songkhla and Phuket. The First Royal Thai Navy wing has 4 squadrons and the Second Royal Thai Navy wing has 3 squadrons. Moreover, the Royal Thai Navy also consists of 1 Royal Thai Marine Corps division, 1 Air and Coastal Defence Division, Royal Thai Navy SEALs and 1 Riverine Patrol Regiment.
The United States Navy and Royal Thai Navy conduct the annual joint operation Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT). CARAT is an annual series of bilateral maritime training exercises between the U.S. Navy and the armed forces of Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and Philippines.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Before Royal Thai Navy
- 1.2 Origin
- 1.3 After World War I
- 1.4 After World War II
- 1.5 Current
- 2 Command and Control
- 3 Organization
- 4 Rank and insignia
- 5 Equipment
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Thai naval forces were formed at the same time as the Thai Kingdom was established at Sukhothai around mid-13th century. At that time, military forces were not separated into army, navy" or air force as today. If troops moved on land, they were called the "land forces" and when they travelled by water, they were known as "naval forces".
In mobilizing troops for warfare within the land or between kingdoms, ships were extremely important for troops and weapon transport. Apart from moving large amounts of supplies, ships could carry heavy armament over long distances much faster than overland. Thus troops were usually moved by waterways as far as possible before traveling to the destination on foot. Two types of traditional barges were used, river barges and sea-going barges. The location of the capital city which was surrounded by a river and intersected by waterways, and the close ties to water usage for consumption and agriculture would indicate that river boats were built before sea-going barges. Early wars were also fought with neighbouring countries, mostly Burma where sea barges were not required.
About three months before the siege and almost complete destruction of Ayudhya in April 1767, King Taksin the Great, then Phraya Vachiraprakan, led a troop of around 500 men and broke through the Burmese line, heading towards Nakhon Nayok city. He overcame resistance in Rayong, Chanthaburi and Trat consecutively. During this time, King Taksin accumulated his naval fleet with haste and constructed more than 100 ships in a short time.
In the eleventh lunar month of the year 1767, King Taksin the Great moved his naval fleet manned by approximately 5,000 men from Chanthaburi towards the Gulf. During the travel, the fleet stopped to suppress the unrest at Chon Buri then moved on to the mouth of the Chao Phraya River on the day of the full moon in the twelfth lunar month of the same year. King Taksin then took Thonburi by force, executing Chao Thong-in who was placed in command by the Burmese to look after the city. The fleet travelled on to Ayudhya and surrounded the Burmese Pho Sam Ton Camp, attacking it until the Burmese were driven away. Thus the naval fleet played an important role in regaining Thai independence.
In 1769, at the beginning of the reign of King Taksin the Great, the Governor of Nakhon Si Thammarat, one of the city states, . was unwilling to submit to his rule. King Taksin led a naval fleet of 10,000 men with 10,000 paddlers, fully armed, passing through the mouth of the Samut Songkhram River . A great storm almost destroyed the fleet but they were able to get through and attacked Nakhon Si Thammarat. The governor fearfully escaped but was later captured. King Taksin the Great ordered the officials of the city to build 100 more war ships for future battles.
Since ancient times, the Thais were capable of constructing seagoing vessels. Most of the ships, sail vessels and kam-pan ships (European style), were used for maritime trade. In wartime, these ships would be transformed into warships by installing weapons. During the period of King Rama I, there were few warships, most of which were a heritage of the Thonburi period. Hence, King Rama I thus ordered that ships be built for use in river and sea. Since the 70-80 warships available could carry only a small number of people, therefore, Prince Ong Chiangsue, was asked to build about 60-70 warships for the Thai Kingdom. The Prince, heir to the Vietnamese throne, was once helped by King Rama I to regain his throne.
In 1791, Prince Ong Chiangsue, who had by then become Emperor Gialon, supplied 70 ships to King Rama I who ordered them stationed at Bang Or Cape. These ships were believed to be small in size and were mainly used for travelling along the coastline. Therefore, during King Rama I's reign, there were about 150 small warships. Large war vessels were few and were used mainly for maritime trade.
World War I
Prior to World War I, only land and naval forces were utilized in battlefields. The air force was non-existent. In modern warfare, however, three-dimensional operation is required to accomplish each country's mission. Thus warships, replenishment ships, aircraft, and marines became an integral part of the Royal Thai Navy. Over the years, the Royal Thai Navy has gradually developed its wartime and peacetime capabilities.
After World War I
In 1933, Admiral Sindhu Kamalanavin, the then Chief of Staff, Royal Thai Navy made a suggestion to the Royal Thai Navy to procure two 400-ton torpedo boats, HTMS Trad and HTMS Phuket, from Italy and three inshore patrol craft Nos. 6, 7 and 8 from England. The ship procurement suffered financial constraints making it uncertain whether the naval force could efficiently meet the challenge in wartime. Hence, Admiral Sindhu Kamalanavin initiated a naval force support project aimed at making the warships capable of fulfilling the following missions.
In 1934, the Naval Force Support Act was passed in Parliament and went into effect on 1 April 1935. The Royal Thai Navy made an agreement with the Government to be allowed to adjust the type and numbers of ships to be procured. The idea was to obtain, at a minimum, all the ships in the list submitted. It turned out that, with the approved budget, the Royal Thai Navy was able to procure additional ships as can be seen in the chart below.
World War II
Apart from developing naval capabilities as proposed to the government in the 1935 Naval Support Act, the Royal Thai Navy signed a contract for the construction of two cruisers, HTMS Naresuan and HTMS Taksin, from Italy on 22 September 1938. Construction was delayed by Italy's entry into World War II and the Italian government took over the contract in late 1941. Designated the Etna class, the uncompleted vessels were scuttled and later scrapped. The Royal Thai Navy was reimbursed for the cost of both ships by the Italian Navy.
After World War II
The United States government provided a loan to the Thai government to purchase surplus war materials from the United States and the United Kingdom such as warships, auxiliaries, arms and equipment etc., which they no longer needed after the war. With a special deal, the Royal Thai Navy decided to procure the following vessels.
On 6 January 1951 at 1530 after bombarding the eastern shore of North Korea, the Destroyer USS English left the group for another task and ordered reconnaissance for HTMS Prasae and HTMS Bangpakong the following morning. During the night, the two ships were following each other within 4 miles distance when the area was hit by a blinding snow storm. The severity of the storm and the defective radar caused HTMS Prasae to lose her track and crept towards shore.
Early on 7 January 1951 around 0730, HTMS Prasae, the leading ship ran aground in enemy territory at Kisamun Point. The hull dragged along the sandy bottom. The ship laid at 60 degrees angled to the coast with waves crashing starboard. Snow was falling heavily with heavy mist and temperatures falling to -17 degrees. HTMS Bangpakong tried to get as close as possible to send a small boat with 11 men with ropes to the ship but the waves were so strong that 6 men were washed off the boat and one man, PO2 Chart Muang-am drowned.
Attempts to tow the HTMS Prasae by US tugboat later that afternoon and the whole of the next day were unsuccessful. At night, around 10 US ships and HTMS Bangpakong kept bombarding the shore to prevent enemies from attacking the ship.
After a peace agreement was signed between UN Forces, North Korea and Communist China on 27 July 1953, many countries started withdrawing their forces from UN operations. At the end of the year, situations in Vietnam worsened and the Royal Thai Government consulted with the UN for withdrawal of the troops and the two ships. Approval was given and on 6 January 1954, withdrawal orders were issued. Prior to the return to Thailand, the two ships underwent extensive repairs in the Yokosuka docks, Finally, the troops and the two ships arrived back in Bangkok on 31 January 1953. The Royal Thai Navy joined UN operation in Korea for four years, with an annual change of crew and troops. In total 2,485 men were involved in the Korean War, with loss of 4 men and HTMS Prasae.
The navy's combat forces included the Royal Fleet and the Royal Thai Marine Corps. The 130 vessels of the Royal Fleet included frigates equipped with surface-to-air missiles, fast attack craft armed with surface-to-surface missiles, large coastal patrol craft, coastal minelayers, coastal minesweepers, landing craft, and training ships.
The mission spaces of Thailand navy include the Thai Gulf and Indian Ocean, separated by land, and river. Naval affairs were directed by the country's most senior admiral from his Bangkok headquarters. The naval commander in chief was supported by staff groups that planned and administered such activities as logistics, education and training, and various special services. The headquarters general staff functioned like those of corresponding staffs in the army and air force command structures.
Thailand's naval fleet, though small, operates primarily out of the sprawling, modern naval station at Sattahip, southeast of Bangkok. The Royal Navy has a marine corps, modeled on the American pattern, skilled in both amphibious and jungle operations. The RTN has personnel strength of 64,000. This complement includes the manpower of the Naval Air Arm (1,200), Marine Corps (20,000) and Coastal Defense Command. There are 27,000 conscripts in the navy; enlistment is for two years of national service. Reportedly, it is the least politicized of the three services, although the navy is developing a blue-water capability which may increase political prominence. Thailand's Andaman Sea region is the likely focus of such an initiative. Procurements have been consistent with this plan. A major concern for the navy is distributing its new equipment in the most efficient way.
Anti-piracy patrols in Indian Ocean
In 2010, Thailand joined the fight against piracy in the Indian Ocean on Sept. 10, sending nearly 400 marines on two vessels to help police the lawless waters off Somalia, the navy confirmed. The Thai navy deployed 386 troops on two warships, the Similan and the Pattani, for the 19-day journey to the Gulf of Aden - one of the world's busiest maritime trade routes. The 60-day mission marks the first time Thailand has contributed to an international maritime taskforce. vThe international armada, which includes regional neighbors China, Singapore, Malaysia and India, has been patrolling the Gulf of Aden since 2008 in a bid to stop pirates from hijacking commercial vessels. Several Thai vessels have been hijacked by Somali pirates, including three fishing boats with a total of 77 crew members aboard who were seized in April.
A 20 April 2014 Bangkok Post editorial said that [last] "Monday, a major news agency won the Pulitzer Prize for their work exposing Thailand’s involvement in the trafficking of Myanmar’s oppressed Rohingya minority through what it called a “tropical gulag”. On Thursday, two journalists running a small, independent website in Phuket were formally indicted for criminally defaming the Royal Thai Navy by quoting part of the award-winning report." Furthermore, "But Phuketwan editor Alan Morison and journalist Chutima Sidasathian, who had played a substantial role in the Reuters investigation, had to worry about the threat of seven years in jail and whether they would be granted bail". As of 22 April, the lawsuit has not been dropped.
Command and Control
The Royal Thai Navy is commanded by the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Navy, currently Admiral Surasak Rounroengrom, who was appointed in 2011. The Royal Thai Navy Headquarters is located in Derm Palace, Wang Derm Road, Bangkok, Thailand.
- Commander-in-Chief, Royal Thai Navy: Admiral Surasak Rounroengrom
- Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Royal Thai Navy: Admiral Narong Pipattanasai
- President, Royal Thai Navy Advisory Group: Admiral Amorntep Na Bangchang
- Assistant Commander-in-Chief, Royal Thai Navy: Admiral Polawat Sirodom
- Chief of Staff, Royal Thai Navy: Admiral Jakchai Poocharoenyos
- Commander-in-Chief, Royal Thai Fleet: Admiral Kanat Thongpool
List of Commanders
Royal Thai Marine Corps
In 1965, the Royal Thai Marine Corps (RTMC) formed an amphibious reconnaissance company. The unit was tasked with conducting ground and amphibious recon missions, beach reconnaissance, obstacle clearance operations, and conducting special operations in support of RTMC operations.
In 1972, a small group of Thai Recon Marines deployed to Laos as part of volunteer Battalion Commando 619. The group operated in the Plane de Jarres conducting combat operations against the communist Pathet Lao guerillas before being withdrawn. In November 1978 the company was expanded to its current battalion size.
Currently the Bn. is based at Sattahip Naval Base. Commanded by a Lt. Colonel, the battalion is composed of four sub units. A HQ Company (with an attached war dog Plt.), one amphibious recon Company (which contains the Battalion's combat divers), and two motorized recon companies (equipped with V-150 armored cars). There is also a small counter-terrorism Detachment assigned to the unit. The battalion's companies are attached to RTMC Regiments on an as-needed basis.
In 1956 the Royal Thai Navy formed a small combat diver unit, based on the USNs UDTs. In 1965 the unit under went a reorganization, it was expanded and divided into two separate units, a USN Mobile Training Team (MTT) provided assistance. The first group was organized into a SEa, Air and Land, or SEAL team. The second group formed an Underwater Demolition Team, or UDT.
The SEAL team was assigned intelligence gathering, and reconnaissance missions. Maritime CT operations have also been added to the units primary tasks. The UDTs conduct salvage operations, and underwater demolitions, and obstacle clearance operations in support of RTMC amphibious operations.
Currently the SEALs consists of approximately 144 men commanded by a Lt. Commander, and are divided into SEAL Teams One and Two. Each SEAL Team is subdivided into four platoons.
The concept of establishing a Naval Air Arm was first proposed by Admiral H.R.H. Prince Abhakara, Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Marine on 23 November 1921 when the matter was raised at the Third General Ministerial Meeting that "It is high time the Navy establish a Naval Air Arm in 1922 and use Sattahip as the Naval Air Station. .We could begin with two naval aircraft procurement.."
Later at the Fourth General Ministerial Meeting on 7 December 1921, the Joint Military Commission approved the proposal for establishment of the Naval Air Arm and assigned Admiral H.R.H. Prince Abhakara to draw up the details of the scheme for implementation. Each year, celebrations for the Founding Anniversary of the Naval Air Division are organised on 7 December, commemorating the approval date by the Joint Military Commission. In recognition of his far-sighted proposal, Admiral H.R.H. Prince Abhakara is also regarded as the Founding Father of the Naval Air Division.
- Maritime patrol plane: 27
- Military transport plane: 11
- Sea helicopter: 8
- Military transport helicopter: 18
- Unmanned aerial vehicle: 2
Coastal Defense Command was formed in 1992 under the control of the Royal Fleet Headquarters, with one coastal defence regiment (equipped with 155 mm artillery) and one air defence regiment (equipped with 40 mm and 37 mm anti-aircraft guns as well as HN-5A MANPADs). Personnel were initially drawn from the Royal Thai Marine Corps but are now being recruited directly. The First Coastal Defence Regiment is based near the Marine Corps facility at Sattahip. The First Air Defence Regiment near the Naval Air Wing at Utapao. Coastal Defence Command was greatly expanded in 1992, following the government's decision in 1988 to charge the RTN with the responsibility of defending the entire Eastern Seaboard and Southern Seaboard Development Project. The Second Air Defence Regiment, based at Songkhla, was then formed on the following year. Some analysts believe this element will eventually grow to a strength of up to 15,000. They also interested in S-300 or S-400 SAM to upgrade their air defense system.
- The First Air Defence Regiment; to perform an Anti-aircraft warfare on Northern Gulf of Thailand with 3 Anti-aircraft Battalions.
- The Second Air Defence Regiment; to perform an Anti-aircraft warfare on Southern Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea with 3 Anti-aircraft Battalions.
- The First Coastal Defence Regiment, having 3 Artillery Battalions.
- 2 Air and Coastal Defence Command and Control Centers.
- Air and Coastal Defence Supporting Regiment; 1 transportation battalion, 1 communication battalion, 1 maintenance battalion.
- Navy Fleet District Forces
- Northern Gulf of Thailand Fleet
- Southern Gulf of Thailand Fleet
- Andaman Sea Fleet
- Air Force District Forces
- Navy Bases District Forces
- Sattahip Naval Base
- Bangkok Naval Base
- Phangnga Naval Base
- Songkhla Naval Base
- Phuket Naval Base
- Samui Naval Base
- Trat Naval Base
- Krabi Naval Base
Rank and insignia
- Aircraft carrier : 1
- Frigates : 8
- Corvettes : 7
- Patrol vessels : 22
- Fast attack craft : 9
- Amphibious warfare ship : 3
- Landing Craft Utility : 9
- River ships : 189
Active combat ships
|Aircraft carrier (1 in service)|
|Chakri Naruebet|| Spain
Empresa Nacional Bazán
|CV 911/1997||11,486 tonnes||Based on the Spanish Navy's Principe de Asturias design, Harrier fighters were retired in 2006, used as helicopter carrier.|
|Frigate (8 in service)|
|Knox class|| United States
|4,260 tonnes||Ex-USS Truett (1974–1994). Leased in 1994. Purchased in 1999 and Ex-USS Ouellet (1970–1993).|
|Type 025T class|| China
|2,985 tonnes||Mid-Life Upgrade in progress with installing 8 x Mk41 VLS for RIM-162 ESSM, Saab's 9LV MK4 CMS, Sea Giraffe AMB, CEROS 200 fire control radar, EOS 500 electro-optics system, New CIWS and data link systems.|
|Type 053HT class|| China
|1,924 tonnes||Modernized Jianghu-class. HTMS Kraburi and HTMS Saiburi are undergoing Mid-Life Upgrade with Type 360 Radar (SR-60A) with improved IFF, New CMS, NG12-1 Twin-barrel 100mm Naval Gun, TR47C Tracking Radar, 8 x C802A missiles.|
|Corvettes (7 in service)|
|Ratanakosin class|| United States
|960 tonnes||US built PFMM Mk.16 class. Undergoing upgraded Electronic systems.
|Tapi class|| United States
|1,191 tonnes||Anti-submarine warfare corvette.|
|Khamronsin class|| Thailand
Mahidol Adulyadej Naval Dockyard and Italthai Marine
|630 tonnes||Anti-submarine warfare corvette.
|Patrol vessels (22 in service)|
|River class|| United Kingdom
|OPV 551/2013||1,969 tonnes||United Kingdom design to Built in Thailand and locally produced.|
|Pattani class|| China
|1,460 tonnes||Thailand design to Built in China.|
|Makut Rajakumarn class|| United Kingdom
|FF 433/1973||1,900 tonnes||Currently used as Offshore Patrol Vessel and/or training role.|
|Hua Hin class|| Thailand
Asian Marine Services and Mahidol Adulyadej Naval Dockyard
|590 tonnes||China design to Built in Thailand.|
|PSMM Mk.5 Class|| Thailand
|Tor 991 class|| Thailand
Mahidol Adulyadej Naval Dockyard and Marsun Shipbuilding
|186 tonnes||An enlarged, modernized version of the Tor 91 class. Extra '9' added in honour of King Rama IX who offered input on the project. Vessels launched in 2007.|
|Tor 994 class|| Thailand
Mahidol Adulyadej Naval Dockyard and Marsun Shipbuilding
|186 tonnes||Vessels launched in 2011.|
|M36 class|| Thailand
|150 tonnes||Vessels launched in 2014.|
|Fast Attack Craft (9 in service)|
|BMB-230 Class|| Italy
Cantiere Navale Breda
|FPB-45 Class|| Singapore
Singapore Technologies Marine
|263 tonnes||Similar to Singapore Navy's Seawolf-class missile gunboats (a design based on the West Germany's Lürssen TNC45 FAC).|
|MV400 Class|| Italy
Cantiere Navale Breda
|450 tonnes||same as Rajcharit class except 76/62 gun in the y position replacing of SSM
|Training Ship/Salute Ship (1 in service)|
|Cannon class DE|| United States
Western Pipe and Steel Company
|DE-1/1959||1,620 tonnes||Former USS Hemminger (DE-746). Currently used as salute ship.|
|Amphibious warfare ship (3 in service)|
|Endurance class|| Singapore
Singapore Technologies Marine
|LPD 79/2012||7,600 tonnes||Designed and built by ST Marine of Singapore, believed to be based on the Endurance-class LPD. The HTMS Angthong (791) was launched on the 21 March 2011.|
|Normed PS 700 class|| Thailand
Italthai Marine and Bangkok Dock
|Landing Craft Utility (9 in service)|
|Marsun M55 class|| Thailand
|Thongkaeo class|| Thailand
|Mannok class|| Thailand
Silkline International - Australian Submarine Corperation (ASC) Joint Venture
Active auxiliary ships
|??? (SS ???)||???||Attack submarine||??? class||??? tonnes||Offer|
|??? (FFG ???)|| South Korea
|Multi-role stealth frigate||DW 3000F class||3,700 tonnes||Under construction||Delivery in 2018|
|??? (FFG ???)|| South Korea
|Multi-role stealth frigate||DW 3000F class||3,700 tonnes||Order||Delivery in 2020|
|USS Rentz (FFG-46)||United States||Guided missile frigate||Oliver Hazard Perry class||4,200 tonnes||Offer||Thai offer in 2014|
|USS Vandegrift (FFG-48)||United States||Guided missile frigate||Oliver Hazard Perry class||4,200 tonnes||Offer||Thai offer in 2014|
|??? (OPV ???)||Thailand||Offshore patrol vessel||River class||1,900 tonnes||Order|||
|??? (PC ???)||Thailand||Patrol Boat||M58 class||??? tonnes||Order|
|??? (PC ???)||Thailand||Patrol Boat||M85 class||??? tonnes||Order|
- Admiral Prince Abhakara Kiartiwongse Prince of Chumphon
- Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters
- Military of Thailand
- Royal Thai Army
- Royal Thai Air Force
- Royal Thai Marine Corps
- Royal Thai Naval Academy
- Navy must end its attack on reporters
- Navy to extend lawsuit to Reuters
- "HTMS Chakri Naruebet has been Installed with SADRAL Missile Weapon System". November 14, 2013.
- "BAE Systems Awarded ESSM Upgrade Contract for Thai Navy". July 3, 2013.
- "Advanced Technology from Saab for Fleet Thailand". July 2, 2014.
- "HTMS Krabi Jalani Sea Trial". April 29, 2013.
- "Coastal patrol boats launched by royals". The Nation (Thailand). 7 September 2007.
- "Her Majesty Presides over Launching Ceremony of Navy’s Patrol Boats". Thai-ASEAN News Network (TAN). 7 September 2007.
- http://www.thaiarmedforce.com/taf-special/331-tafspecial48.html. Missing or empty
- http://thaidefense-news.blogspot.com/2014/03/111-112.html. Missing or empty
- "Naval vessels as built by Lurssen GmbH". Lurssen.com. Retrieved 2011-05-03.