Planned Thai Helicopter Deals

US CONGRESS was notified on July 21 by the US Defense Security Co-operation Agency of a possible Foreign Military Sale of two UH-601. Black Hawk helicopters to the Royal Thai Navy (RTN). If all options are exercised, the total value of the contract will be $46 million.

The deal would also include spare and repair parts, support equipment, personnel training and training equipment, contractor engineering and technical support services. The RTN will use the helicopters to provide utility lift requirements and help to reduce the variety of different airframe platforms in its inventory. Thailand already has S-70A Black Hawks in service with the Army, together with S-70B-7s with the RTN for shipboard operations.

Separately, a $66.9 million defence budget was approved by the Thai Cabinet on July 13 and included purchase of seven unspecified helicopters requested by the Defence Ministry, although no details were revealed. In addition, however, a preliminary agreement was signed with Russia’s Ulan Ude Aviation Plant on July 6 for delivery of an unspecified number (thought to be between four and six) of Mil Mi-171 helicopters, subject to Thai Government approval, this being expected by September. It was not immediately clear whether these are the same deal or two separate acquisitions.

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