Thailand has ordered two more EC725 Caracal multirole helicopters to augment the six already procured, Airbus Helicopters announced on 4 October.
The order represents Phase III of the EC725 procurement plan for the Royal Thai Air Force (Kongtap Agard Thai - RTAF), with the first four medium-lift helicopters having been ordered in 2012 and received in 2015, followed by two more ordered in 2014 and due to be received before the end of the year. These further two helicopters are set to be handed over in 2019, with further orders being considered.
According to Airbus Helicopters, the RTAF's EC725s are configured for the combat search-and-rescue (CSAR), search-and-rescue (SAR), and troop transportation roles primarily. The introduction of the EC725 will enable the RTAF to retire its ageing Bell UH-1H 'Huey' helicopters that have been in service since 1968.
While Airbus Helicopters has now redesignated the EC725 as the H225M as part of a portfolio-wide renaming process, those helicopters that have been delivered to the RTAF retain their former identifier as the first helicopters were contracted before the new naming process was introduced.
The RTAF's current rotary-winged fleet now comprises four H225Ms; 18 UH-1Hs; two Bell 412s; two 412SPs; one 412HP; seven 412EPs; and three Sikorsky S-92 Super Hawks. The Royal Thai Army has seven Bell AH-1F Cobras; six Boeing CH-47D Chinooks; five Mil Mi-17V5 'Hip' aircraft; four Sikorsky MH-60S Knighthawks; 60 UH-1Hs; 48 Agusta-Bell 212s; two AgustaWestland AW139s; four Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks; six Airbus Helicopters UH-72A; 10 Bell 206Bs; 40 Sikorsky TH-300Cs; and 16 480B helicopters in its inventory. The Royal Thai Navy fields two Sikorsky MH-60S Knighthawks; three UH-1Hs; four 214STs; two Airbus Helicopters H145Ms; two AgustaWestland Super Lynxs; six Sikorsky S-70B Seahawks; four AB212s; and four Sikorsky S-76Bs.
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