- Thailand has deployed its H145M helicopters on an actual HADR mission for the first time
- The missions are proving out the aircraft's medical-evacuation, emergency-relief capabilities when operated from onboard a naval platform
The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) has deployed its Endurance-class landing platform dock (LPD) ship, embarked with two H145M helicopters, to southern Thailand as part of the service's flood relief efforts.
The LPD, HTMS Angthong (791), arrived off the coast of Nakhon Si Thammarat on 9 January and has since been conducting missions in the area including medical evacuations and the delivery of rations and medical supplies.
The RTN's public relations division confirmed on 12 January that this was the first time its H145M helicopters had been deployed in actual humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations.
"This helicopter has improved our speed and also our ability to reach areas that have been cut-off due to the floods and road collapses," said the division. It added that three landing craft utility (LCU) platforms have also been deployed with Angthong to support the RTN's relief efforts.
The aircraft are part of five H145Ms ordered under a 2014 contract with Airbus Helicopters and commissioned in early November 2016. The platform can be configured for medical evacuation missions, on top of search-and-rescue (SAR) and reconnaissance operations.
After torrential rain since 1 January, the southern Thailand region has suffered severe flooding and mudslides, which have displaced at least 370,000 households and 1 million people, according to official figures from the Thai government. At least 30 deaths have already been attributed to the floods.
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