The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) is planning to deploy its new H145M light utility twin-engine helicopters from its Pattani- and modified River-class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), the service's 202 Squadron confirmed with IHS Jane's on 5 May.
The RTN completed technical acceptance of its first two H145M aircraft from Airbus Helicopters on 29 April. The aircraft are part of a 2014 contract for five airframes. However, the first two helicopters will remain in Germany for a pilot training programme that is scheduled to begin in May 2016.
The RTN currently operates two Chinese-made Pattani-class OPVs, HTMS Pattani (511) and HTMS Narathiwat (512), commissioned in December 2005 and April 2006 respectively, and one indigenously produced modified River-class OPV, HTMS Krabi (551), that has been built to a BAE Systems design. Krabi was commissioned in August 2013.
The service is also anticipating the delivery of a second modified River-class OPV, the contract for which was announced in January 2016.
According to Airbus Helicopters, the H145Ms being supplied to the RTN have been equipped for a range of military missions that include search-and-rescue (SAR), reconnaissance, and medical evacuation operations.
The platform also features a weather radar system, cargo hooks, and an internal long-range fuel tank system. The 202 Squadron confirmed that the platform has been fitted with two machine gun pedestals, one each on the port and starboard doors.
IHS Jane's All the World's Aircraft lists the H145M as having a maximum take-off weight of 3,585 kg and a maximum underslung payload of 1,500 kg. The aircraft can attain a service ceiling of 6,095 m and a maximum rate of climb of 20,000 ft/min.
All five airframes are expected to be handed over to the RTN by September 2016.