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Royal Thai Air Force begins receiving H135 training helicopters

The RTAF has begun receiving Airbus H135 training helicopters. One of the helicopters is shown here bearing tail number ‘20203'. (RTAF)

The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) has begun receiving Airbus H135 training helicopters, according to images posted by the service on social media on 15 September.

One of images shows an H135 bearing the number ‘20203' on its tail, suggesting that this is the third helicopter of the type to be registered with the RTAF.

If confirmed, this would mean that at least three such rotorcraft are now in service with the RTAF's 202nd Squadron, which is part of the 2nd Wing based at Koke Kathiem Air Base, Lopburi. The H135 will be known as the Type 13 in RTAF service.

The H135s are being acquired as part of a USD43.35 million contract for six of these helicopters that was announced by Airbus in February 2020, marking the first time the RTAF has ordered dedicated training helicopters.

As noted by Airbus at the time, the H135s for the RTAF feature the new Helionix avionics suite and are configured with two external cameras, providing pilots with a 360° view of the external environment. They also are equipped with tactical systems and the Euronav7 moving map, as well as an air-conditioning system, tinted windows, and height-adjustable pilot seats. Moreover, Airbus added that it would also supply spare parts and oversee the maintenance of these helicopters.

The first helicopter was seen conducting a flight test at the company's facility in Donauwörth, Germany, in July 2020, followed by a second one spotted in January 2021. The three remaining helicopters are expected to be delivered before the end of 2021.

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