Aerial Warfare

US Department of Defense Confirms Boeing AH-6i Helicopters to Royal Thai Army

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US Department of Defense Confirms Boeing AH-6i Helicopters to Royal Thai Army

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Boeing AH-6i light attack and reconnaissance helicopter
Boeing AH-6i light attack and reconnaissance helicopter

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has officially confirmed the sale of eight Boeing AH-6i light attack and reconnaissance helicopters to the Royal Thai Army (RTA). This sale, valued at USD 400 million, marks a crucial step in advancing Thailand’s defense capabilities while fostering regional security. Janes reported that the AH-6i rotorcraft, equipped with cutting-edge technology and integrated with the Advance Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) guided rockets, represents a significant upgrade for the Royal Thai Army. This acquisition will facilitate the retirement of the seven aging Bell AH-1F Cobra attack helicopters, thereby bolstering Thailand’s military readiness and operational effectiveness. It is crucial to note that Thailand becomes the second country, following Saudi Arabia, to operate the AH-6i helicopters, underscoring the trust and confidence placed in this advanced rotorcraft by nations seeking enhanced operational efficiency and versatile defense capabilities.

Boeing AH-6i light attack and reconnaissance helicopter. (Photo by Boeing)
Boeing AH-6i light attack and reconnaissance helicopter. (Photo by Boeing)

The Government of Thailand has requested to buy 8 AH-6i light attack reconnaissance helicopters; 50 AGM-114R Hellfire missiles; 200 Advance Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) Rockets. Also included are 10 M134 Mini Guns, 10 M260 Rocket Launchers; 10 M299 Longbow Hellfire Launcher; 10 AN/APN-209 Radar Altimeter; 8 AN/APR-39(V); 4 GAU-19/B .50 Cal Machine Gun; 500 Hydra 70 Rockets; 20 AN/AVS-6 Night Vision Goggles; 8 WESCAM MX-10Di Cameras; 10 AN/APX-123 IFF; 10 AN/ARC 201E-VHF-FM; 10 AN/ARC-231 w/ MX-4027; 10 LN-251 Inertial Navigation System/Global Positioning System (EGI); Aircrew Trainer (ACT); Pilot Desktop Trainer (PDT); Virtual Maintenance Trainer (VMT;, contractor provided pilot and other related elements of logistics and program support. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) highlighted that the AH-6i helicopters will play a pivotal role in supporting military modernization efforts, specifically focusing on light attack reconnaissance capabilities.

Saudi Arabian National Guard Boeing AH-6 Light Attack Helicopter
Boeing AH-6i light attack and reconnaissance helicopter. (Photo by Boeing)

The Boeing MH-6M Little Bird (nicknamed the Killer Egg) and its attack variant, the AH-6, are light helicopters based on the MD 500 family used for special operations in the United States Army. Leveraging more than 30 years of AH-64 Apache evolution, the AH-6 builds on a proven platform with system improvements to increase mission effectiveness and survivability, making the aircraft a reliable, state-of-the-art platform for multiple missions. It integrates best-in-class capabilities such as an integrated cockpit utilizing commercial off-the-shelf systems, and includes the latest fully integrated weapons, sensor and glass cockpit for precision day and night engagement and reconnaissance. Kaman Corporation is developing a retrofittable graphite epoxy rotorblade for the AH-6.

Boeing AH-6i light attack and reconnaissance helicopter. (Photo by Boeing)
Boeing AH-6i light attack and reconnaissance helicopter. (Photo by Boeing)

Boeing funded the development program itself; it intends to market the aircraft for both military and homeland security roles within the U.S. and internationally. The AH-6i is the export version of the AH-6S. The AH-6i first flew on September 16, 2009. Jordan has expressed interest in ordering the AH-6i in May 2010. In October 2010 Saudi Arabia requested 36 AH-6i aircraft with related equipment and weapons from the United States through a Foreign Military Sale. Korean Air recently delivered its first AH-6 helicopter fuselage commissioned by Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS). Korean Air signed a contract with Boeing in December 2021 to manufacture a total of eight fuselages for AH-6 helicopters that will undergo final assembly by BDS. It is understood that the latest export customer announced for the Boeing AH-6i armed reconnaissance helicopter is the Royal Thai Army

Boeing AH-6i light attack and reconnaissance helicopter. (Photo by Boeing)
Boeing AH-6i light attack and reconnaissance helicopter. (Photo by Boeing)

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