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Royal Thai Army to Receive Eight AH-6i Helicopters in 2025

Yulian Ardiansyah - : Jun 25, 2024 - : 7:39 pm

The Royal Thai Army (RTA) is set to receive eight Boeing AH-6i light attack and armed reconnaissance helicopters in May 2025. This follows Boeing’s recent flight trials of the first production units for Thailand.

In December 2023, the US Department of Defense announced that Thailand had signed a contract worth USD 103.8 million for the AH-6i helicopters. Although the contract did not specify the number of helicopters, a 2019 announcement from the US Department of State had approved the sale of eight units.

In addition to the helicopters, the document also approved the sale of 50 AGM-114R Hellfire missiles, 200 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) rockets, 500 Hydra 70 rockets, ten M134 7.62 mm Miniguns, four GAU-19/B 12.7 mm machine guns, ten M299 Longbow Hellfire launchers, and ten M260 rocket launchers. The package also comprises various avionics, pilots’ night vision goggles, training, and support packages. The total value of the sale is estimated at USD 400 million.

These new helicopters will replace the ageing fleet of seven Bell AH-1F Cobra attack helicopters. The RTA initially ordered four AH-1F Cobras in 1998 for its 3rd Aviation Battalion. After losing one in a crash in 2001, the army ordered four more in 2005. Some of the remaining Cobras are now being stored for spare parts, while others are in limited use.

The Boeing AH-6i is based on the MH-6 Little Bird and MD 500 helicopter families. It is crewed by two personnel and can carry three fully equipped troops. Powered by an Allison 250-C30 turboshaft engine delivering 317 kW, the helicopter has a maximum cruise speed of 233 km/h (126 knots), a range of 331 km (179 nmi), and an endurance of around two hours.

Thailand will become the third country, after Jordan and Saudi Arabia, to operate the AH-6i helicopters.


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