HTMS Chakri Naruebet (CVH-911)

Chakri Naruebet underway in the South China Sea, 2001. US Navy photo.

Nation
Ship Type
Laid Down
1994
Launched
1996
Commissioned
1997
AD/BC
AD
History

HTMS Chakri Naruebet (CVH-911) is the smallest aircraft carrier in the world, and it's a stretch to call her that. Ordered from Spain in 1992, Chakri was based on the Spanish Navy's Príncipe de Asturias, and commissioned into the Royal Thai Navy in 1997. Chakri was intended to operate the Matador, Spain's version of the Harrier, and the SH-60 Seahawk helicopter, but by the time she joined the fleet, Thailand had one, maybe three, operational Matadors. Chakri has spent most of her time in port, and her last Matador was retired in 2006. While she is the fleet flagship, Chakri is classified by the Thais as an offshore patrol helicopter carrier. Apart from going to sea for a training day once a month, Chakri is limited to disaster relief deployments, and ferrying the Thai royal family around. There was a show of force mission off Cambodia, following the burning of the Thai embassy there in 2003, but it is questionable how useful she would have been if things had gone hot.