The Royal Thai Army is the army of Thailand. It is the oldest and largest branch of the Royal Thai Armed Forces. The army was formed in 1874, partly as a response to new security threats following the Bowring Treaty with Britain, which opened up the country for international trade.
Altogether the army is organized into 7 infantry divisions (including 5 tank battalions), 1 armoured division, 1 cavalry division (with an armour capability), 8 independent infantry battalions, 2 special forces divisions trained and geared for small unit special and airborne operations, 1 field artillery division, and 1 air defense artillery division. 3 airmobile companies provided the ground force units with battlefield support.
The Royal Thai Army also controls at least one television network, the Thai Global Network.
The Royal Guards were established by King Chulalongkorn the Great of Thailand in 1859, when he was still a prince. Initially, the Royal Guards were servants with duties such as scaring crows, which led to commoners referring to them as the "Mahardlek Laikar," roughly translated as "soldiers who are not useful."
When he succeeded his father in 1868, King Chulalongkorn took his Royal Guard and formed a 24-strong Royal Bodyguard, referred to as the "Taharn Songlow." In 1870, the Royal Guard regiment were given the name the "King's Guard" and their duties included escorting the king while he travelled around the country.
The Royal Guards still exist in the present and serve as protectors of the Royal Family of Thailand.
|Main Battle Tanks||~330|
|M41 Walker Bulldog||200|
|FV101 Scorpion CVR(T)||154|
|Armoured Personnel Carriers/Reconnaissance Vehicles||~1130|
|BTR-3E1||(96 On Order)|
|M901A3 Improved TOW Vehicle||18|
|Type 85 (YW531H)||450|
|GHN-45 155mm Towed Howitzer||42|
|Soltam M-71 155mm Towed Howitzer||32|
|L119 105 mm Towed Howitzer||34|
|GIAT LG1 Mk II 105 mm Towed Howitzer||24|
|Type 82 130 mm MLRS||60|
|Type 59 130 mm Towed Howitzer||15|
|M198 155 mm Towed Howitzer||62|
|M109A5 155 mm Self-Propelled Howitzer||20|
|M114 155 mm Towed Howitzer||56|
|M101 105 mm Towed Howitzer||285|
|M102 105 mm Towed Howitzer||12|
|M618A2 105 mm Towed Howitzer||32|
|Air Defence Artillery||~240|
|Bofors L40/70 40 mm anti-aircraft gun||48|
|Type 59 57 mm anti-aircraft gun||24|
|Type 74 twin-barrel 37 mm anti-aircraft gun||122|
|M163 VADS rotary 20 mm anti-aircraft gun||24|
|M167 VADS rotary 20 mm anti-aircraft gun||24|
|Heckler & Koch HK33||Rifle|
|Heckler & Koch HK G36C Use by Royal Thai Navy SEALs||Rifle|
|Heckler & Koch MP5||Submachine gun|
|Heckler & Koch PSG-1 Use by Royal Thai Navy SEALs||Sniper Rifle|
|Heckler & Koch UMP9 Use by Royal Thai Navy SEALs||Submachine gun|
|Heckler & Koch USP Use by Royal Thai Navy SEALs||Pistol|
|Heckler & Koch HK21 Use by Royal Thai Navy SEALs||General purpose machine gun|
|Heckler & Koch HK13||Light machine gun|
|Heckler & Koch G3 Use by Royal Thai Navy SEALs||Rifle|
|MG3 Used in the V-150 APC.||General purpose machine gun|
|FN MINIMI||Light machine gun|
|FN MAG-58||General Purpose Machine Gun|
|FN P90||Submachine gun|
|M1 carbine Use by Thai National Guards||Carbine|
|M-249||,||Light machine gun|
|M60 machine gun||General purpose machine gun|
|93 (ฺFN Browning M2HB)||Heavy machine gun|
|M1 Garand Use by Thai Royal Guards||Rifle|
|Accuracy International AW50 Use by Royal Thai Navy SEALs||Sniper Rifle|
|IMI Negev (1,500 order)||Light machine gun|
|IMI Tavor TAR-21 (30,000 order)||Rifle|
|M203 Used on M16 Rifle and M4 Carbine||Grenade launcher|
|M72 LAW||Light Anti-tank rocket|
|Mk 19||Grenade launcher|
|M47 Dragon||Anti-Tank Guided Missile|
|9K38 Igla (36 order)||MANPAD|
Lop Buri, the main base complex of the Royal Thai Army Aviation, which includes training, technical school, aircraft maintenance and aircraft storage.
A separate airfield within the Lop Buri complex (only around 3 km south of Sa Pran Nak) houses the 5th aircraft maintenance Company. This unit is responsible for maintenance and storage of army aircraft and helicopters.
News about Royal Thai Army procurement programRoyal Cambodian Army and Royal Thai Army as the latest round of a century-long dispute involving the area surrouding Preah Vihear Temple between Amphoe Kantharalak, Sisaket Province and Choam Khsant District, Preah Vihear Province where Thailand claims that demarcation has not yet been completed. It has now extended to the Ta Moan Thom complex between Surin Province and Oddar Meancheay Province which eventuate from Preah Vihear stand-off.
On 9 september 2008, Cabinet approved a package of defense modernization deals. RTA will buy another batch of 15,037 TAR-21s Tavor and 553 Negevs Machine Gun. Also RTA will procured 36 Iglas MANPAD from Russia.
Royal Thai Army announces that it is award the contact to Unkraian firm to supply 96 BTR-3E1s in the budget of 4,000 million Baht But the deal faces setback about the accusation of corruption during the evaluation process. Military-appointed government during the coup decided to let the elected government to decide if RTA will continue buying BTR-3E1s or restart the evaluation process.
On 23 July 2008,PM Samak approved the deal and the project is moving on. RTA will revieved the first model in 2009 - 2010.