A US Army UH-72A Lakota light-utility helicopter at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., US
1 October 2014 army-technology.com
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of a potential foreign military sale (FMS) of UH-72A Lakota helicopters and associated equipment to Thailand.
Under the estimated $89m sale, Thailand has requested nine UH-72A Lakota helicopters, along with spare and repair parts, support equipment, communication equipment, and aviation mission planning stations.
Approved by the US State Department, the package also includes personnel training and training equipment, as well as other related elements of logistics support.
The sale is expected to contribute to Thailand's goal of upgrading and modernising its military forces with a new light-utility helicopter that can address requirements for rotary-wing transportation, while further enhancing interoperability between Thailand, the US, and other allies.
In addition, the sale contributes to the foreign policy and national security of the US by helping to improve the security of a major non-Nato ally.
EADS North America has been selected to serve as the prime contractor for the FMS programme.
The UH-72A Lakota, which is an unarmed utility militarised version of the EC-145 helicopter, is primarily used for search and rescue, medical evacuations, homeland security, VIP transport and disaster response and relief, as well as combat flight and pilot sustainment training missions.
Powered by two Turbomeca Arriel 1E2 turboshaft engines, the helicopter can also be used for general support and counter-narcotics operations.
It is currently operated by the US Army, Navy and the Army National Guard.
In June 2013, Thailand also requested six UH-72A Lakota helicopters and related equipment from the US at an estimated cost of $77m.