Procurement: July 16, 2004


Thailand wanted to buy 32 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, but at $12 million each, could not afford that many. So only nine UH-60s were purchased. To make up for the missing UH-60s, Thailand received 30 refurbished UH-1 helicopters from the United States, paying $30 million for spare parts and pilot training programs. The UH-1s had served in the U.S. Army from the late 1960s to 1990. The refurbishment gives them another 5-10 years of service life (depending on how well they are maintained, and how intensively they are used.) The UH-1 is a smaller, and less capable helicopter than the UH-60. The UH-1 has a max takeoff weight of 4.7 tons, compared to 10 tons for the UH-60. This translates into a payload of 1.5 tons for the UH-1, versus 3.5 tons for the UH-60, range of 340 kilometers versus 590, max speed of 220 kilometers an hour versus 300. The UH-60 is also better able to take rifle fire and keep flying. However, since the Thai army is fighting irregulars and bandits, the UH-1 can get the job done as well as the UH-60, especially if there are more UH-1s available.


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