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US confirms AH-6i sale to Thailand

Thailand's earlier approval for the Boeing AH-6i light attack helicopter has now been firmed up into a confirmed sale. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has confirmed the sale of eight Boeing AH-6i light attack and reconnaissance rotorcraft to Thailand, with a related contract notification posted in late December 2023.

With US State Department approval for the sale having been granted in September 2019, US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) disclosed that it is to award BAE Systems a contract to integrate the Advance Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) guided rockets that were included in the original US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notification.

The APKWS contract notification firms up the USD400 million deal for eight AH-6i Little Bird helicopters that will enable the Royal Thai Army (RTA) to retire its seven ageing Bell AH-1F Cobra attack helicopters.

Further to the impending NAVAIR contract for 200 APKWS rockets, the deal will include 50 Lockheed Martin AGM-114R Hellfire air-to-surface missiles, 10 Dillion M134 7.62 mm Miniguns, four General Dynamics GAU-19/B 12.7 mm Gatling guns, 500 70 mm Hydra rockets, 20 night-vision goggles, eight WESCAM MX-10Di electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) cameras, as well as other equipment and support.

“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 DSCA said in its original approval notification.

Thailand is the second customer for the AH-6i, with Saudi Arabia operating the type (designated AH-6SA in national service) in its national guard.

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