Royal Thai Navy

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Royal Thai Navy
Emblem of the Royal Thai Navy.svg
Emblem of the Royal Thai Navy
Active8 April 1887 (132 years)
Country Thailand
AllegianceHM The King of Thailand
RoleNaval warfare
Size86,000 Active personnel
(53,000 Navy personnel)
(18,000 Marine Crops)
(15,000 Air and Coastal Defense Command)
Part of Royal Thai Armed Forces
Garrison/HQSattahip Naval Base (Main base), Sattahip, Chonburi
Bangkok Noi, Bangkok (Headquarters)
Nickname(s)ราชนาวี (Raj Navy)
Motto(s)ร่วมเครือนาวี จักยลปฐพีไพศาล (Join the Navy to see the world)
ColoursNavy blue
(Navy March)
(Dok Pradu Song)
Anniversaries20 November 1906:
Royal Thai Navy Day
4 September: Submarine Memorial Day[1]
Commander-in-chief Admiral Luechai Rutdit
King Pin-Klao
Prince of Chumphon
Sangad Chaloryu
Sathiraphan Keyanon
FlagFlag of the Royal Thai Navy.svg
Naval jack and unit colourNaval Jack of Thailand.svg
Naval ensignNaval Ensign of Thailand.svg
Fin flashRoyal Thai Navy Aircraft Marking.svg

The Royal Thai Navy (Thai: กองทัพเรือ) is the navy of Thailand and was established in the late 1800s. 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.

The Royal Thai Navy operates in three Naval Area Commands: Northern Gulf of Thailand (First NAC), Southern Gulf of Thailand (Second NAC), and the Andaman Sea (Indian Ocean) (Third NAC). The RTN also has two air wings and one flying unit on its aircraft carrier.


In fiscal year 2018 (FY2018) the navy's budget is 43,835 million baht.[2]



Ancient era[edit]

The military history of Thailand encompasses 1,000 years of armed struggle, from wars of independence from the powerful Khmer Empire, through to struggles with her regional rivals of Burma and Vietnam, also periods of tense standoff with a conflict namely; Britain and France during the colonial empires.[3]

The naval arm of the army consisted mainly of river-faring war boats. Its primary missions were to control the Chao Phraya River, and to protect the ships carrying the army to the front. The major war boats carried up to 30 musketeers and were armed with 6- or 12-pounder cannon.

Franco-Siamese War[edit]

The Paknam Incident was a siamese navy engagement fought during the Franco-Siamese War in July 1893. Three French ships violated Siamese territory and were fired warning shots by a Siamese fort and a force of gunboats on Siam's Chao Phraya River in Paknam.[4]:259 However, in the ensuing battle, France won and blockaded Bangkok by a lack of training at the fort and very old-fashioned navy fleet.[4]:263 The final agreement eventually was signed on October 3, 1893 after British put pressure on both the Siamese and French governments to reach a negotiated settlement.[5]:127

World War I[edit]

The First World War had no direct impact on Siam because of the distance. However, the war did provide an opportunity for King Rama VI to strengthen his country's position in the international arena. He also used the war as a means to promote the concept of a Siamese nation.[6][7]

The siamese navy troops took a part of a volunteer expeditionary force was assembled, consisting of medical, motor transport and aviation detachments.[8] By early 1918, 1,284 men were selected from thousands of volunteers. The force, commanded by Major-General Phraya Bhijai Janriddhi, was destined to be sent to France.[9]

After World War I[edit]

Franco-Thai War[edit]

The Battle of Ko Chang took place on 17 January 1941 during the Franco-Thai War in which a flotilla of French warships attacked a smaller force of Thai vessels, including a coastal defence ship.[10]

The French left behind them a scene of total devastation. The Thonburi
was heavily damaged and grounded on a sand bar in the mouth of the Chanthaburi river, with about 20 dead. The Thai transport HTMS Chang arrived at Ko Chang shortly after the French departed and took the Thonburi in tow, before purposefully running her aground again in Laem Ngop.
On the other hand, the French sailors were elated, believing they had inflicted a decisive defeat while not suffering losses of significance, with only 11 men killed. During the post-action investigations, the Thai Navy claimed, based on statements by Thai sailors and the fisherman around Ko Chang and merchantmen in Saigon, that heavy damage was seen to have been caused to the Lamotte-Picquet and her squadron.

The battle resulted in a tactical victory by the French Navy over the Royal Thai Navy although the strategic result is disputed. The Japanese intervened diplomatically and mediated a ceasefire.[11] Within a month of the engagement, the French and the Thais negotiated a peace which ended the war.

HTMS Matchanu and Wirun at Kobe Port, 1938

World War II[edit]

During World War 2, Siam allied with Japan after Japan invaded Siam in 8 December 1941.[12] The submarines remained in service throughout World War II, which Thailand officially joined in January 1942, but they saw no combat. But all of them did serve an important role during the war as its were protecting underwater for Thailand armed force and maritime logistic for its homeland. [13]Moreover, two of them did serve an unconventional role during the war. On 14 April 1945, five months before the Japanese surrender, Bangkok's Samsen and Wat Liab Power Plants were bombed during Allied air raids, leaving the capital city without electricity.[14] In response to a request from the Bangkok Electricity Authority, the Matchanu and Wirun anchored at the Bangkok Dock Company and served as power generators for one of Bangkok's tram lines.

Manhattan Rebellion[edit]

During the Manhattan Rebellion of 1951, the Royal Thai Navy was involved in a failed coup against Prime Minister Plaek Phibunsongkhram which led to the sinking of flagship HTMS Sri Ayudhya[15] and a complete change in leadership.

Vietnam War[edit]

In support of South Vietnam and its belligerents during the Vietnam War, two Royal Thai Navy vessels undertook operations in South Vietnam, [16] in a role of supporting ground force.


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 space of the Thailand navy includes the Gulf of Thailand and the Indian Ocean, which are separated by land, as well as rivers. 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.

Command and control[edit]

The Royal Thai Navy is commanded by the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Navy, currently Admiral Luechai Rutdit, who was appointed in 2015. The Royal Thai Navy headquarters is in Bangkok.

  • Commander-in-Chief, Royal Thai Navy: Admiral Luechai Rutdit

List of commanders[edit]


Royal Thai Navy is located in Thailand
Sattahip Naval Base
Sattahip Naval Base
Bangkok Naval Base
Bangkok Naval Base
Phangnga Naval Base
Phangnga Naval Base
Songkhla Naval Base
Songkhla Naval Base
Phuket Naval Base
Phuket Naval Base
Samui Naval Base
Samui Naval Base
Trat Naval Base
Trat Naval Base
Thai Navy Bases District Forces

Naval Area Commands[edit]

The Royal Thai Navy operates three naval area commands:

District forces[edit]

  • Navy Fleet District Forces
    • Northern Gulf of Thailand Fleet
    • Southern Gulf of Thailand Fleet
    • Andaman Sea Fleet
  • Royal Thai Naval Air District Forces
  • Navy Bases District Forces
    • Sattahip Naval Base
    • Bangkok Naval Base
    • Phang Nga Naval Base
    • Songkhla Naval Base
    • Phuket Naval Base
    • Samui Naval Base
    • Trat Naval Base

Navy Organization[edit]

Navy Headquarters Naval Fleet Naval Logistics Support Group Naval Education, Research and Development Group
  • Naval Secretariat Department
  • Naval Administration Department
  • Naval Personnel Department
  • Naval Intelligence Department
  • Naval Operation Department
  • Naval Logistics Department
  • Naval Communications and Information Technology department
  • Naval Civil Affairs Department
  • The Office of the Naval Comptroller
  • Naval Finance Department
  • Naval Inspector General
  • Naval Internal Audit Office
  • Naval Acquisition Management Office
  • Judge Advocate General of the Royal Thai Navy
  • Royal Thai Fleet
    • Patrol Squadron
    • 1st Frigate Squadron (FS1)
    • 2nd Frigate Squadron (FS2)
    • Helicopter Carrier Squadron (HCS)
    • Submarine Squadron (SS)
    • Mine Squadron (MS)
    • Amphibious and Combat Support Service Squadron (ACSSS)
    • Coast Guard Squadron (CGS)
    • Riverine Squadron (RS)
    • Royal Thai Naval Air Division (RTNAD)
    • Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC)
    • Fleet Training Command (FTC)
    • Fleet Support Division (SD)
  • First Naval Area Command
  • Second Naval Area Command
    • Songkhla Naval Base
  • Third Naval Area Command
    • Phangnga Naval Base
  • Royal Thai Marine Corps (RTMC)
  • Air and Coastal Defense Command (ACDC)
  • Naval Military Police Regiment (NMPR)
  • Royal Thai Naval Dockyard (RTND)
  • Naval Electronics Department (NED)
  • Naval Public Works Department (NPWD)
  • Naval Ordnance Department (NORDD)
  • Naval Supply Department (NSD)
  • Naval Medical Department (NMD)
  • Naval Transportation Department (NTD)
  • Naval Hydrographic Department (HD)
  • Naval Welfare Department (NWD)
  • Naval Science Department (NScD)
  • Naval Education Department (NED)
    • Naval Command and Staff College (NCSC)
    • Naval Line Officers School (LOS)
    • Naval Rating School (NRS)
    • Naval Non Commissioned Officers School (NCOS)
    • Naval Recruit Training Center (RTC)
    • Royal Thai Navy Language Center (RTNLC)
    • Naval Strategic Studies Center (NSSC)
  • Royal Thai Naval Academy (RTNA)
  • Naval Research and Development Office (NRDO)

Navy Branches[edit]

General Line Engineering Line Marine Corps Staff (Special Corps)
Gunner's Mate Electrician Corps Infantry Yeoman (Administration)
Torpedoman's Mate Engine Corps Artillery Supply Corps
Quartermaster and Coxswain Corps of Engineer Finance Corps
Signal Corps Signal Corps Judge Advocate General's Corps
Hydrographic Corps Armor Civil Engineer
Transportation Corps Science Corps
Ordnance Corps Band
Meteorological Corps Medical Corps
Military Police Corps
Intelligence Corps

Royal Thai Marine Corps[edit]

Royal Thai Marine along with Republic of Korea and US Marines conduct an amphibious assault during Cobra Gold 2011

The Royal Thai Marine Corps was founded in 1932, when the first battalion was formed with the assistance of the United States Marine Corps. It was expanded to a regiment in 1940 and was in action against communist guerrillas throughout the 1950s and 1960s. During the 1960s the United States Marine Corps assisted in its expansion into a brigade.

Thai Marines today are responsible for border security in Chanthaburi and Trat provinces. They have fought communist insurgents in engagements at Baan Hard Lek, Baan Koat Sai, Baan Nhong Kok, Baan Kradook Chang, Baan Chumrark, and in the battle of Hard Don Nai in Nakhon Phanom Province. Many Thai Marines have lost their lives serving their country, and they continue to do so today, especially in the southern border provinces currently affected by the South Thailand insurgency. A monument to their valor stands at the Royal Thai Navy base at Sattahip.

Naval Special Warfare Command[edit]

Emblem of Thai Navy SEAL Sky Drive Team

The naval special warfare command was set up in the name of Underwater Demolition Assault Unit in 1956 with the assistance of the U.S. Government.[17] A small element within the Navy SEALs has been trained to conduct maritime counter-terrorism missions.The unit has close ties with the United States Navy SEALs and conducts regular training exercises.

Most of the operations of the Navy SEALs are highly sensitive and are rarely divulged to the public. Navy SEALs have been used to gather intelligence along the Thai border during times of heightened tension.[18] In December 1978, recon teams were sent to the Mekong River during skirmishes with the Pathet Lao, a communist political movement and organisation in Laos.[18] Navy SEALs have participated in anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Thailand.[18]

Royal Thai Naval Air and Coastal Defence Command[edit]

Coastal Defence Command was formed in 1992 under the control of the Royal Fleet Headquarters, with one coastal defence regiment and one air defence regiment. 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 was 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 the following year. Some analysts believe that this element will eventually grow to a strength of up to 15,000 personnel.[19]

  • The First Air Defence Regiment: their mission is to provide anti-aircraft warfare for the northern Gulf of Thailand with three anti-aircraft battalions.
  • The Second Air Defence Regiment: to provide Anti-aircraft warfare for the southern Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea with three anti-aircraft battalions.
  • The First Coastal Defence Regiment has three artillery battalions.
  • Two Air and Coastal Defence Command and Control Centers.
  • Air and Coastal Defence Supporting Regiment: one transportation battalion, one communications battalion, one maintenance battalion.

Royal Thai Naval Air Division[edit]

Royal Thai Navy Fokker27-MK 400
Royal Thai Navy Sikorksy S-76B
Thai Navy SH-70B Seahawk

The RTN recently has two air wings and one Flying Unit of HTMS Chakri Naruebet, operating 23 fixed-wing aircraft and 26 helicopters from U-Tapao, Songkhla, and Phuket. The First Royal Thai Navy wing has three squadrons; the Second Royal Thai Navy wing has three squadrons and another wing for HTMS Chakri Naruebet Flying Unit.

Squadron Status Role Type Aircraft Unit
The First Royal Thai Navy wing
101 Active SAR Maritime patrol aircraft Dornier 228 7
102 Active ASuW and ASW Maritime patrol aircraft Fokker27-MK 200 3
103 Active Forward air control Maritime patrol aircraft Cessna 337 Super Skymaster 9
104 Inactive
The Second Royal Thai Navy wing
201 Active Military transport Maritime patrol aircraft Fokker27-MK 400
Embraer ERJ-135LR
202 Active Military transport Helicopter Bell 212
203 Active ASuW and Military transport Helicopter SH-76B Seahawk
Super Lynx 300
HTMS Chakri Naruebet Flying Unit
1 Inactive
2 Active ASW and Military transport Helicopter SH-70B Seahawk
MH-60S Knighthawk

Riverine Patrol Regiment[edit]

Royal Thai Navy Riverine Sailors and U.S. Navy Sailors during CARAT Thailand 2010

Royal Thai Navy riverine patrol regiment has a major roles of conducting to keep the peace, prevent illegal immigration, human trafficking, drug smuggling or any actions that harm homeland security,[20] in a riverine area of Chao Phraya and Mekong rivers or other suitable area. The boat station of Royal Thai Navy Riverine Patrol Regiment located in several provinces in Thailand.

Royal Thai Naval Academy[edit]

Navy Cadet Regiment, King's Guards of Royal Thai Navy.

The Royal Thai Naval Academy was established by King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) in 1898, [21] where is located in Samut Prakan. Those who want to enter the academy first have to pass the entrance exam, after which they join a three-year preparatory program at the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School where they study together with army, air force, and police cadets.

On successful completion, they enter the Royal Thai Naval Academy. After graduation, they attend a further one-year advanced course at Sattahip that leads to a graduate diploma in naval science. On completion of this course, they are ready to work as officers in the Royal Thai Navy and Royal Thai Marine Corps.

Cadets graduate with a bachelor's degree in engineering or science and are commissioned in the Royal Thai Navy with the rank of ensign (sub-lieutenant). Together with graduates of the other armed forces and police academies they receive their swords from the king personally or the king's representative. Selected first-year cadets of the RTNA are awarded scholarships to study at naval academies abroad. On their return to Thailand they start working as officers in the Royal Thai Navy straightaway.

Naval Medical Department[edit]

The Naval Medical Department was first set up on 1 April 1890 and is currently headquartered at Somdet Phra Pinklao Hospital in Bangkok. It provides medical services for soldiers in the Royal Thai Navy and operates a number of hospitals in Thailand including Queen Sirikit Naval Hospital in Chonburi, where construction was completed on 20 November 1995.[22]


The Bangkok Dock Company dockyard on Charoen Krung Road

The Fleet of the Royal Thai Navy were produced in broadly countries around the world such as Canada, China, Germany, Italy, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, United States and the United Kingdom. However, the Thai shipbuilding companies and RTN dockyards also have capability of producing its own vessels namely; Mahidol Adulyadej Naval Dockyard, Asian Marine Services, Marsun Shipbuilding, Italthai Marine, and Bangkok Dock. Royal Thai Navy and the local ship building have already built an auxiliary ships, landing craft, patrol boats, corvettes, Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) repectively. In the nearly future of RTN fleet, its has a plan to locally built frigates as well.

Humanitarian relief operations[edit]

Thailand worked with more than 60 nations in providing help to the Nepali people following an earthquake. Operation Sahayogi Haat ('helping hands') was a US military relief operation delivering humanitarian assistance to victims of the April and May 2015 Nepal earthquakes. The Royal Thai Navy assisted relief efforts.[23] A magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck the region of Kathmandu in Nepal on 25 April 2015. Operation Sahayogi Haat (Nepali: 'helping hands')[A] for humanitarian relief operations was put into action by Joint Task Force 505 on 6 May.[27]

Rank structure[edit]

OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 Cadet Officer
RTN OF-10 (Admiral of the Fleet).svg RTN OF-9 (Admiral).svg RTN OF-8 (Vice Admiral).svg RTN OF-7 (Rear Admiral).svg RTN OF-6 (Commodore).svg RTN OF-5 (Captain).svg RTN OF-4 (Commander).svg RTN OF-3 (Lieutenant Commander).svg RTN OF-2 (Lieutenant).svg RTN OF-1b (Lieutenant Junior Grade).svg RTN OF-1a (Sub-Lieutenant).svg
จอมพลเรือ พลเรือเอก พลเรือโท พลเรือตรี พลเรือจัตวา1 นาวาเอก นาวาโท นาวาตรี เรือเอก เรือโท เรือตรี นักเรียนนายเรือ
Admiral of the Fleet Admiral Vice Admiral Rear Admiral Commodore
Rear Admiral
(lower half)1
Captain Commander Lieutenant Commander Lieutenant Lieutenant
Junior Grade
Sub Lieutenant Midshipman
OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-1
RTN OR-9 (Chief Petty Officer 1st Class).svg RTN OR-9 (Chief Petty Officer 1st Class).svg RTN OR-8 (Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class).svg RTN OR-7 (Chief Petty Officer 3rd Class).svg RTN OR-5 (Petty Officer 1st Class).svg RTN OR-4 (Petty Officer 2nd Class).svg RTN OR-3 (Petty Officer 3rd Class).svg No insignia
พันจ่าเอกพิเศษ พันจ่าเอก พันจ่าโท พันจ่าตรี จ่าเอก จ่าโท จ่าตรี พลทหาร
Master Chief Petty
Senior Chief Petty
Chief Petty
Petty Officer
1st class
Petty Officer
2nd Class
Petty Officer
3rd Class
Seaman Seaman apprentice

See also[edit]


Ruth, Richard A. “Prince Abhakara’s Experiences with Britain’s Royal Navy: Education, Geopolitical Rivalries and the Role of a Cretan Adventure in Apotheosis.” Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia, vol. 34, no. 1, 2019, pp. 1–47. JSTOR, 0217-9520


  1. ^ "US military earthquake relief efforts in Nepal led by Joint Task Force 505 have been named "Operation Sahayogi Haat", which means 'helping hand' in Nepali, by US Pacific Command based out of Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii."[24][25][26]


  1. ^ Panrak, Patcharapol (16 September 2015). "Hoping again to become submariners, navy celebrates Submarine Day". Pattaya Mail. Archived from the original on 6 September 2018. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  2. ^ "THAILAND'S BUDGET IN BRIEF FISCAL YEAR 2018". Bureau of the Budget (Thailand) (Revised ed.). p. 84. Archived from the original on 7 August 2018. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  3. ^ "History of Thailand". Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  4. ^ a b Warington Smyth, H (1898). Five Years in Siam, from 1891 to 1896. v. 1. John Murray. ISBN 1375627406. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  5. ^ Tuck, Patrick (1995). The French Wolf and the Siamese Lamb; The French Threat to Siamese Independence 1858-1907 (1st ed.). White Lotus. ISBN 9789748496283.
  6. ^ "History of Thailand". Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  7. ^ Duncan Stearn (22 August 2009). "Thailand and the First World War". First World Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  8. ^ Keith Hart (1982). "A NOTE ON THE MILITARY PARTICIPATION OF SIAM IN WWI" (PDF). Journal of the Siam Society. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  9. ^ "90th Anniversary of World War I. This Is The History of Siamese Volunteer Corps". Thai Military Information Blog. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
  10. ^ "70th Year of HTMS Thonburi Part II – The Fighting". (in Thai). 17 January 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  11. ^ WatcharaYui (4 March 2010). "Battle of Koh Chang overview". Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  12. ^ Brecher & Wilkenfeld 1997, p. 407.
  13. ^ เรือดำน้ำกับกองทัพเรือไทย. เรือดำน้ำกับกองทัพเรือไทย (in Thai). Naval Education Department, Royal Thai Navy. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  14. ^ Reynolds, Thailand's Secret War, 304–05 with photograph on 306.
  15. ^ Fuangrabil, Krisda (May 2007). "สู่วาระสุดท้ายของเรือหลวงศรีอยุธยา: ทหารเรือกับเหตุสำคัญของบ้านเมืองในอดีต (ตอนที่ 4)" (PDF). Nawikasat. 90 (5): 6–14.
  16. ^ Malcolm H. Murfett (2012). Cold War Southeast Asia. Marshall Cavendish International Asia Pte Ltd. p. 166. ISBN 978-981-4382-98-4.
  17. ^
  18. ^ a b c Conboy 1991, p. 52.
  19. ^ John Pike. "Air and Coastal Defense Command". Archived from the original on 24 December 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Royal Thai Naval Academy". RTNA. Retrieved 1 December 2008.
  22. ^ "ความเป็นมาโรงพยาบาล".
  23. ^ Martinez, Staff Sgt. Alexander (29 May 2015). "Thai and USA forces combine to help earthquake victims in Nepal". Pattaya Mail. Archived from the original on 1 June 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  24. ^ "Nepal Earthquake Relief Effort Named 'Operation Sahayogi Haat'" (News release) (Press release). Kathmandu, Nepal: Joint Task Force 505. 10 May 2015. Archived from the original on 14 July 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  25. ^ "Operation Sahayogi Haat / Helping Hand". Archived from the original on 1 June 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  26. ^ "Nepal Earthquake Relief Effort Named 'Operation Sahayogi Haat'". Nepal Foreign Affairs. 10 May 2015. Archived from the original on 25 May 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  27. ^ "Joint Task Force Activates for Nepal Earthquake Relief". Marine Corps Forces Pacific News Release. US Department of Defense. 6 May 2015. Archived from the original on 14 July 2015. Retrieved 29 May 2015.

External links[edit]