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Thailand to receive AH-6 helos

Thailand is set to receive eight AH-6i helicopters (pictured) to replace its seven ageing Bell AH-1F Cobras. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Thailand is to receive a number of Boeing AH-6 light attack and reconnaissance rotorcraft, with a USD103.8 million contract announced by the US Department of Defense (DoD) on 18 February.

The deal, which will see the ‘Little Bird' helicopters built at Boeing's Mesa facility in Arizona, will run till 30 May 2025.

While the contract notification did not disclose aircraft numbers, the US Department of State approved the sale of eight AH-6i (International) helicopters, as well as associated weapons, equipment, and support to Thailand in 2019.

With the total package worth USD400 million, weapons and related systems included in the approval comprised 50 Lockheed Martin AGM-114R Hellfire air-to-surface missiles, 200 BAE Systems Advance Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) guided rockets, 10 Dillion M134 7.62 mm Mini-Guns, four General Dynamics GAU-19/B 12.7 mm Gatling guns, 500 70 mm Hydra rockets, 20 night vision goggles, and eight WESCAM MX-10Di electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) cameras.

The procurement will enable the Royal Thai Army (RTA) to retire its seven ageing Bell AH-1F Cobra attack helicopters. “As part of a broader military modernisation effort, these AH-6i helicopters will provide light attack reconnaissance for close air support to special operations forces, Stryker infantry soldiers, and border guard units,” the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said.

Although the US Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama is the contracting authority for the Thai AH-6 procurement, this and other aircraft sales to allied partner countries are being overseen by the US Army's Multi-National Aviation Special Project Office (MASPO).

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