Warplanes: AirBus Exploits A Chinese Weakness

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October 27, 2016: In Thailand the air force has ordered another two EC725/H225M search and rescue helicopters from European firm Airbus. The air force already has four EC725s in service or on order. That will increase to six when the two new ones arrive. The EC725 is an 11 ton aircraft with a useful load of 5.5 tons, a top speed of 324 kilometers an hour and endurance of about five hours. The EC725 cost nearly $50 million each.

Thailand is in need of new military helicopters as most of the existing fleet is decades old. Most of them are American designs dating back to the 1960s. The current military government is trying, as they usually do, to get purchases like this made before new elections are held and civilians are again in charge and less willing to buy new military equipment. While China is offering better prices China does not yet have decent helicopter designs to offer. Most current Chinese built helicopters are copies (sometimes built under license) of European and Russian models. Normally Thailand would not even consider Chinese equipment but when there is a military takeover in Thailand normal Western sources are reluctant to deal with an illegal government. The Chinese, on the other hand, see these situations as opportunities.

 


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