Airbus Helicopters has announced that the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) has placed an order for six H135s for use as military training helicopters under its pilot training enhancement programme.
The order was signed at the Singapore Airshow on February 12 for an undisclosed fee. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2021 and, once operational, the aircraft will be employed on an array of missions, including ab-initio flight training.
Fabrice Rochereau, head of sales, Asia Pacific at Airbus Helicopters, said: “We are extremely honoured by the [RTAF’s] decision to expand its training fleet with the H135… where every one of its pilots will learn to fly a helicopter through the H135 trainer, and smoothly transit to more complex helicopters.”
The helicopters will be equipped with the company’s state-of-the-art Helionix avionics suite that provides optimal safety conditions for basic and advanced training. The RTAF’s H135s will each be configured with two external cameras, giving the pilots a 360° view of the environment outside the cockpit. They will also be equipped with tactical systems, interface capability and the Euronav7 moving map to enhance situational awareness while maintaining high levels of functionality.
The company adds that “this latest contract includes comprehensive maintenance support under the HCare Smart full-by-the-hour programme and continuing airworthiness management organisation services”. This will provide the RTAF with access to a dedicated local pool of parts, ensuring maximum operational availability. Airbus Helicopters will also provide the RTAF with all the parts needed for the aircraft’s maintenance.
Airbus Helicopters’ global military fleet of H135s has amassed more than 320,000 training flight hours. This new order brings to 11 the total customers for the type. In RTAF service, the H135 will complement a 12-strong fleet of H225Ms, operated by 203 Squadron.
Thailand is an established customer for Airbus Helicopters outside the air force, too. The Royal Thai Army (RTA) operates eight H125M Fennecs in an armed scout role, six H145T2s for VIP transport duties and five UH-72A Lakota utility helicopters. The tri-service Royal Thai Survey operates two EC115B1s and the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) operates five EC635T2+ as utility aircraft.