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Thailand launched AH-1F Cobra replacement program

The Royal Thai Army (RTA) is planning to acquire at least six new combat helicopters to replace several ageing AH-1F Cobra platforms, according to the country`s officials.

Thailand launched AH 1F Cobra replacement progra 001 A Royal Thai Army AH-1F Cobra attack helicopter
(Credit: Royal Thai Armed Forces)

On June 12, Commander of RTA`s Aviation Center Major General Weerayuth Intaworn confirmed that the funding for the procurement had been provided in Thailand`s 2019 defense budget. According to him, a dedicated committee had already initiated evaluation of various proposals, with several Russian options being considered.

A source from RTA told the IHS Jane`s think tank that the following helicopters are under review: the Mil Mi-28NE and Kamov Ka-52 (Russia), the Bell AH-1Z Viper and Boeing AH-64D/E Apache Longbow/Apache Guardian (the United States of America), Airbus Helicopters` Tiger (the European Union), Leonardo`s AW129 Mangosta (Italy) and the Z-19 Black Whirlwind (the People`s Republic of China).

Supplied in 1991, the remaining AH-1F Cobra helicopters are iall operated by the 3rd Army Aviation Battalion.

According to Thailand`s official documents, RTA accounts for 49% (THB11.73 billion or USD3.479 billion) of the country`s 2019 defense budget.