ACM Prajin said his predecessor ACM Itthiporn Supawong had approved a plan to relocate the academy in 2011, because the existing one, established on May 7, 1953, is more than 50 years old and is located in the middle of crowded communities with heavy traffic congestion.
The new academy, now under construction, is located on a plot of almost 900 rai at Muak Lek airport in Saraburi. The air force also plans to seek permission to use an adjacent mountainous area covering 5,473 rai for training purposes.
The 500 million baht will be used for the construction of buildings for educational purposes, living quarters for instructors and cadets, and other facilities. The relocation will take place between 2016 and 2019.
The present site will be turned into an aviation park and the Network Centric Warfare Operations Centre to serve as a command link between radar stations throughout the country and the air force's air defence system. In the future, the centre wil also serve as a link between Gripen jet fighters and the navy's warships including HTMS Chakrinaruebet, HTMS Taksin and HTMS Naresuan.
The Air Force Academy will be renamed Navamintakasatrathirat Air Force Academy. The academy has so far trained 58 batches of cadets. Its goal is to become a leading academy in the Asean community, ACM Prajin said.