The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) has ordered two additional twin-engine H225M (formerly EC725) multirole utility helicopters under Phase III of its fleet strengthening programme launched in 2012. Delivery of the two additional helicopters is scheduled for 2019.
The RTAF’s H225Ms are specially equipped with fast roping, cargo sling, search light and electro-optical systems (EOS) to perform combat search and rescue (CSAR) missions, search and rescue (SAR) flights, troop transport operations and other tasks.
These additional helicopters will join an existing fleet of four machines to perform similar missions. Two EC725s that were booked in 2014 will also be delivered by the end of this year. The RTAF is also considering further expansion of the fleet.
The Thai contract, while welcome, provides meagre consolation for the recent news that Poland has terminated discussions for a potential €3bn+ order for 50 H225M Caracals. Airbus Helicopters had reached a provisional agreement with the previous centrist government, voted out of office one year ago.
Reuters quoted a statement from the economics ministry saying that "Poland considers the negotiations regarding the offset agreement with Airbus Helicopters related to the contract for the purchase of Caracal multi-role helicopters for the Polish army as finished."