|HTMS Chakri Naruebet (Thai จักรีนฤเบศร, meaning "In honour of the Chakri Dynasty") is the flagship of the Royal Thai Navy (RTN), and Thailand's first and only aircraft carrier. Based on the Spanish Navy's Principe de Asturias-class design and constructed by Spanish shipbuilder Bazán, Chakri Naruebet was ordered in 1992, launched in 1996, and commissioned into the RTN in 1997. |
The carrier is equipped with an air group of V/STOL aircraft and helicopters, and was intended for patrols and force projection in Thai waters, disaster relief, and amphibious warfare support. However, a lack of funding brought on by the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis means that the carrier has spent much of her career docked at the Sattahip naval base. The carrier has been deployed on several disaster relief operations, although her other departures from port consist primarily of a single training day per month, and transportation of the Royal Family of Thailand, leading to claims that the ship is merely an oversized royal yacht.