The US Department of Defense has announced that Thailand is purchasing an undisclosed number of AH-6 light attack and reconnaissance helicopters as part of a $103.8 million contract.
Developed by Boeing, the AH-6 reportedly possesses “superior” performance and is equipped with “flexible” equipment ideal for precision attacks, close combat, security and escort, troop insertion and extraction, and combat search and rescue operations.
The aircraft includes a state-of-the-art mission computer that can process large amounts of data, quickly sharing information with other systems. It is designed to ensure the safety of soldiers on board, improve decision-making, enhance situational awareness, and reduce pilot workload.
The single-engine AH-6 has a cruising speed of 126 knots (233 kilometers per hour) and a maximum range of 179 nautical miles (331 kilometers). According to Boeing, the aircraft’s maximum flight time is 2.1 hours.
Work for the contract will take place at Boeing’s facility in Arizona and is expected to be complete by May 2025.
Other Thai Aviation Investments
In 2019, the US State Department approved the sale of AH-6 helicopters to the Royal Thai Air Force to replace the country’s aging fleet of Bell AH-1F Cobra attack helicopters. The contract had an estimated value of $400 million.
In addition to the AH-6s, the southeast Asian nation has made several avionics investments to improve its air defense capabilities.
Earlier this year, it was reported that Thailand would procure eight F-35 stealth fighters at a discounted price of $81 million each. Air Force Commander-in-Chief Napadej Dhupatemiya said that acquiring F-35s is necessary to replace the country’s current F-5 and F-16 aircraft, which have been in use for more than three decades.
Thailand has also awarded a $143-million contract to Textron Aviation Defense for the delivery of eight AT-6 Wolverines. The deal reportedly makes Thailand the first foreign customer for the US light-attack aircraft.