Royal Thai Air Force Beefs Up Helicopter Fleet

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The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) will expand their helicopter fleet with a recent order. The Air Force is ordering the helicopters through the company Airbus. A total of six helicopters have been placed. The order of four more H225 Airbus helicopters expands the order. The order is expected to be completed by 2021.

After the RTAF acquires these four H225M helicopters, their fleet will have a total of 12 helicopters in it. The RTAF currently has six H225Ms. The H225M will prove a vital asset for military search and rescue missions as well as troop transportation operations. Two H225M from a previous order are expected to be delivered by the end of the year.

According to Airbus’ website, the H225M is part of a family of helicopters known as the Airbus’ Super Puma family. In fact, the H225M is the newest member of the family. According to Airbus “The H225 offers the industry’s best speed, range, payload, and reliability.”

The H225M was previously was called the EC725. The helicopter will come with emergency flotation gear, a cargo sling, roping and a search lighting system.

The contract signed between Airbus and the Royal Thai Air Force will cover support for the helicopters, including maintenance for airworthiness and technical support.

Philippe Monteux, the Head of the Southeast Asia and Pacific region, spoke about the H225Ms. “The H225Ms have served the Royal Thai Air Force well since the delivery of its first batch in 2015, and we are truly honored by this renewed order, underscoring their continued trust and confidence in our helicopters and the committed support to their fleet,” Monteux said. “With its proven versatility, reliability and endurance, we know that the H225 will continue to capably fulfill the most challenging missions.”

Monteux also said that the RTAF can count on the Thailand-based customer center for availability to the fleet.

The H225M features a twin-turbine system, electronic instruments described as state-of-the-art and a 4-axis autopilot system. The helicopter is said to handle with a fast cruise speed and endurance. Roughly, 90 helicopters are currently in use. A total of 100,700 flight hours have been recorded on the H225Ms.

The H225M’s first flight was on November 27, 2000. It was introduced into service in 2005. A 2000 estimate brings the price to 20 million Euros, or approximately $23.5 million per unit. The helicopter can carry upwards of 29 troops at a time, along with two crew members. A civilian model of the helicopter, known as the Eurocopter EC225 Super Puma is used for a variety of uses as well, including search and rescue missions, oil and gas operations, and passenger transportation.

Seven other countries use the H225Ms, including Brazil, France, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, and Singapore. Each country’s Air Force either uses the helicopters or has them on order. Kazakhstan has 20 currently on order, while Singapore has 16 on order.

Airbus produced a revenue of 59 billion Euros in 2016. A total workforce of around 129,000 people are employed by the company. In addition, the company produces other combat and transport aircrafts for militaries in Europe and worldwide.