November 16, 2015: Strategy Page
In early October Thailand ordered another eight AW139 transport helicopters from Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland. The Thai army received its first two AW139s in 2014 and was impressed. The military tends to buy a lot more stuff after a coup (which Thailand had in 2014, the 12 th since 1932) because an elected government is much less cooperative about this sort of thing. The first two AW139s cost about $27 million each. These eight ton choppers carry up to 15 passengers and can get by with just one pilot. Cruise speed is 288 kilometers an hour and endurance averages 3.2 hours. The AW149, a military version of the AW139, is also available but is more expensive. The AW139 competes with the U.S. UH-60 and another European helicopter, the slightly larger NH90. AgustaWestland is a division of the Italian firm Finmeccanica.
Thailand has been trying to replace its aging force of helicopters for the last decade. This has led to the purchase of new American, European, and Russian helicopters, depending on who is offering the best deal at the moment. Thus Thailand has also ordered Russian Mi-17V5s, American UH-72As and UH-60Ms and European (Airbus) AS500 helicopters.