RTAF (SWDC) RTAF-5 - Thailands Baby Bronco

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Welcome to my first suggestion on this forum! Today I’ll present a unique Thai designed advanced trainer and forward air control aircraft, the RTAF-5.

Now if your first thought upon seeing the aircraft was that it looks like the OV-10 Bronco had a child with the O-2 Skymaster, you might be onto something…

Spoiler

O-2
Royal Thai Navy operated O-2 Skymaster.
Bought by the Navy in 1980, still in service.


RTAF operated OV-10C Bronco
The first batch was delivered in 1970 and accepted into service as จ.๕ (J.5). They were retired in 2004.

However, despite any visual similarities, the RTAF-5 is in no way just a copy of another aircraft. While it is possible some inspiration might have been taken from the OV-10s design, it is a very different and interesting vehicle.

History

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Following the second world war, the Royal Thai Airforce mostly relied on foreign designed aircraft. However, having a not insignificant history of local production and even development of their own aircraft such as the Paribatra bomber and Prajhadhipok fighter, they once again sought to build up their aviation industry.
Starting in 1957 with the RTAF-2, a domestic development of the Fuji LM-1, Thailand would begin their endeavor. In 1972 the RTAF-4, based on the de Havilland Canada DHC-1, would be the first Thai post war design to enter service with the Royal Thai air force.

Design on the RTAF-5 started in February 1975. The first prototypes started production not long after in either May or August 1976, and the first aircraft completed its first flight on in October 1984 with the landing gear fixed in down position. The retraction mechanism for the landing gear, along with other changes were said to be implemented following the second test flight in December 1984. The second aircraft was used for static testing on the ground. The project was cancelled as chief test pilot Wing Commander Soonthorn Wongnamsan died in a crash. It is likely the aircraft involved was the RTAF-5 prototype, rendering it destroyed.
It is possible a second prototype has started construction at an unknown date, however not much is known about it.

Currently, the RTAF-5 can be found at the Royal Thai Airforce Museum in Bangkok. Interestingly, this aircraft features a static landing gear, which would either mean that the planned modifications of the prototype had never been implemented or mean that it is the static test aircraft, confirming the destruction of the prototype.

Design
Schematic

The RTAF-5 was a cantilever mid-wing monoplane design with a twin boom tail section. It was powered by a single Allison 250-B17C turboprop engine mounted at the rear of the fuselage in a pusher configuration.
The wings each had two hardpoints for weaponry, an inner one with 150lb capacity, and an outer one with 100lb capacity. This would give the aircraft a total ordnance capacity of 500lb.
The landing gear was a tricycle configuration with a single nosewheel and twin wheels in the rear. In the intended design, the front wheel would fold up forward into the nose, where it would still be partially exposed. The rear landing rear would fold up into gear compartments in the front section of the landing gear.

Specifications

  • Crew: 2
  • Wing span: 9.55m (31ft 4in)
  • Wing span: over tip tanks: 9.86m (32ft 3in)
  • Wing aspect ratio: 6.18
  • Wing area (incl. tip tanks): 15.67m² (168.7sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 1645kg (3628lb)
  • Fuel weight: 236kg (284l / 62.5 Imp. gal / 75 US gal)
  • Engine: Allison 250-B17C (313kW / 425ps / 420hp)
  • Wing loading: 137.4kg/m² (28.16lb/sq ft)
  • Speed (3050m / 10000ft): 333km/h (207mph)
  • Stall speed: 158km/h (98mph)

Armament (estimated by weight, likely incomplete):

  • 2.75in (70mm) FFAR Mighty Mouse rockets (7 on the inner hardpoints, 14 total)
  • 5in (127mm) FFAR Zuni rockets (up to 4 on the inner hardpoints, 2 on the outer hardpoints, 12 total)
  • 100lb AN-M30 GP bomb (1 on each hardpoint, 4 total)

In the game

In War Thunder, the RTAF-5 would represent a unique, Thai developed aircraft. While not exactly impressive in flight performance, it would still offer interesting ground attack weaponry option for the low ranks of the game.

It could enter the game through the Japanese techtree, similar to the recent F-5E (FCU), where close air support aircraft are currently lacking throughout the tree and the RTAF-5 could provide a useful and interesting addition.

Additional images

Spoiler


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Sources:

Spoiler

https://archive.org/details/janesfightingshi8586shar/mode/2up
The RTAF-5; Thailand’s Baby Bronco - Forgotten Aircraft - Military Matters
https://www.thai-aviation.net/
Aircraft Production In Thailand
RTAF 5
RTAF-5 - RTAF-5の概要 - わかりやすく解説 Weblio辞書
RTAF 5

2 Likes

+1 Silly looking plen XD

4 Likes

+1, would be a unique addition wherever it’s added, probably to Japan, giving that there is major support for the Thai subtree

1 Like

+1

1 Like

Given the likelihood of Thailand supporting Japan, I see no reason not to give it to them as part of a Thai air subtree! The OV-10 could come too, and the O-2 if it was armed. +1

3 Likes

The O-2 Skymaster that Thailand operated had the hardpoints needed to equip secondary ordinances so it is possible.

Also Thailand operated a AU-23 as well as inheriting a AU-24 Stallion from a fleeing Khmer pilot during the chaos of the takeover of Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge

The real question is if Thai GAF Nomads and PAC CT-4’s were ever armed since both aircraft can equip secondary ordinances however that should be discussed in an appropriate thread

4 Likes

While I’m not sure about the PAC CT-4, the Thai Aviation website listing states that at least one Nomad was designated as “B.JL.9” (instead of B.L.9). This added J is used to designate attackers and was used in this same way to designate Thai AC-47s (B.JL.2).

Oh sweet! The AU-23 seems like the better option, as it can carry suspended weapons, but both would be nice if Gaijin would implement bank turns for aircraft. They already have “orbit mode” for drones, all they’d need to do is port that over and gunships would work.