Its carrier, the HTMS Chakri Naruebet, was meant to be a source of pride for Thailand and symbolize the developing country's power.
But that was before the late 1990s Asian financial crisis. Bangkok's grand plans for its carrier were significantly hobbled as a result of the region's economic downturn. Commissioned in 1997, the same year the financial crisis struck the country, the Chakri Naruebet — which means "Sovereign of the Chakri dynasty," the Thai monarchy's ruling family — was mostly consigned to sitting in port due to funding shortfalls.
There are several aircraft carriers in service with Asian militaries, as China, India, Japan, and South Korea have carriers of different sizes. Not wanting to be left out, Singapore is on its way to constructing a carrier, too.
All this competition has only made Thailand's once-proud carrier look like a bizarre microcosm of the country's dysfunction, rather than the symbol of growing national prestige that it was intended to be.
According to The Diplomat, Thailand's AV-8S Matador (Harrier) accompanying jet fleet was withdrawn from service in 2006, leaving Bangkok with an aircraft carrier without any actual aircraft. Thailand experienced a military coup that same year, along with a second one in 2014.