US authorises sale of AH-6i light attack helicopters to Thailand

26 September 2019 (Last Updated July 21st, 2020 15:42)

The US State Department has cleared a potential sale of eight AH-6i light attack reconnaissance helicopters and associated equipment to Thailand.

US authorises sale of AH-6i light attack helicopters to Thailand
Boeing’s AH-6i Light Attack / Reconnaissance Helicopter is intended to replace the army’s ageing fleet of seven AH-IF Cobra helicopters. Credit: Boeing.

The US State Department has cleared a potential sale of eight AH-6i light attack reconnaissance helicopters and associated equipment to Thailand.

The possible foreign military sale (FMS) is valued at around $400m.

As is the case with sales under the FMS, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of the proposed sale.

If Congress approves the deal, Thailand will also procure 50 AGM-114R Hellfire missiles, 200 Advance Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) Rockets, ten M134 Mini Guns, ten M260 Rocket Launchers and ten M299 Longbow Hellfire Launcher.

In addition, the sale will include AN/APN-209 Radar Altimeter, Hydra 70 Rockets, AN/AVS-6 Night Vision Goggles, and other equipment.

In a statement, DSCA said: “This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the US by helping to improve the security of a major non-Nato ally in Indo-Pacom. Thailand is a strategic partner committed to contributing to regional security.”

The agency stated that the procurement of the AH-6i helicopters will deliver improved light attack capability to the Royal Thai Army (RTA).

The sale will allow Thailand to boost homeland defence and deter threats in the region.

Thailand intends to purchase the Boeing-made helicopters to replace the army’s ageing fleet of seven AH-IF Cobra helicopters.

The procurement is part of the country’s military modernisation efforts.

DSCA added: “These AH-6i helicopters will provide light attack reconnaissance for close air support to special operations forces, Stryker infantry soldiers and border guard units. Thailand will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.”

Boeing has been selected as the primary contractor for the AH-6i sale.

Thailand issued a request for proposals for the purchase of eight attack helicopters in 2017.

AH-6i can be used to conduct light, precision, anti-armour, close combat attacks. The rotorcraft can also support reconnaissance, and combat search and rescue missions.