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Thailand begins deck landing trials for Bell 212, H145M helicopters on Bhumibol Adulyadej

A H145M helicopter in service with the Royal Thai Navy. (Royal Thai Navy 202 Squadron)

A H145M helicopter in service with the Royal Thai Navy. (Royal Thai Navy 202 Squadron)

The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) has begun deck landing qualification (DLQ) activities for H145M light utility twin-engine, and Bell 212 medium helicopters aboard its sole Bhumibol Adulyadej-class guided-missile frigate.

The first DLQ trials were held on 9 July in the Gulf of Thailand, the service’s 202 Squadron said in a statement the next day.

The landings involved a single H145M airframe with serial number 2215, and a Bell 212 helicopter bearing serial number 2211. Both aircraft are operated by 202 Squadron, and were dispatched from the U-Tapao naval aviation base for the trials. Meanwhile, the frigate operates out of the Sattahip Naval Base, which is located about 12 km away.

HTMS Bhumibol Adulyadej is the South Korean-built warship that the RTN commissioned in December 2018. The Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME)-designed vessel has an overall length of 123 m, an overall beam of 14.4 m, and a hull draught of 4.2 m. It can accommodate one helicopter on its flight deck.

The frigate is equipped with a Mk 41 VLS, 30 mm guns from MSI, a 76 mm Super Rapid naval gun from Leonardo, and launchers for the Boeing Harpoon Block II anti-surface missiles. It features combat systems from Saab.

Equipped with a hull mounted DSQS 24C sonar, an active towed array sonar (ACTAS) from Atlas Elektronik, and six (two triple) 324 mm torpedo tubes, Bhumibol Adulyadej is presently the RTN’s most capable warship in terms of anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities. The service plans to eventually embark the frigate with an S-70B ASW helicopter.

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