3D Printed in Light Grey
60.3 x 9.3 x 13.2 mm
HTMS Chakri Naruebet is the flagship of the Royal Thai Navy (RTN), and Thailand's first and only aircraft carrier, although the RTN refers to her as an "Offshore Patrol Helicopter Carrier". Based on the Spanish Navy's PrÐ Â Ð â€¦ncipe de Asturias design and constructed by Spanish shipbuilder BazÐ Â Ð’Â±n, Chakri Naruebet was ordered in 1992, laid down in 1994, launched in 1996, and commissioned into the RTN in 1997. The ship is the smallest functioning aircraft carrier in the world.
The aircraft carrier was designed to operate an air group of V/STOL fighter aircraft and helicopters, and is fitted with an aircraft ski-jump. Initial intentions were to operate a mixed air group of ex-Spanish AV-8S Matador Harrier V/STOL aircraft and Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk helicopters. However, by 1999 it was reported that only one Matador was operational due to parts, training, and fiscal limitations, although three Matadors were spotted on the ship during a show of force after the 29 January 2003 Phnom Penh riots in Cambodia. Her entire Harrier V/STOL jet fleet was removed from service in 2006. Although Chakri Naruebet was intended for patrols and force projection in Thai waters, a lack of funding brought on by the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis meant the carrier has spent most of her career docked at the Sattahip naval base.
Chakri Naruebet has been deployed on several disaster relief operations, including in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, and in response to separate flooding incidents in late-2010 and early-2011. Other than disaster relief, the carrier's few other departures from port are for a single training day per month, leading to claims by some naval commentators that the ship is merely an oversized royal yacht.
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