has bought six American MH-60S naval helicopters. Called the Knighthawk, the
MH-60S is based on the UH-60 Blackhawk, and the first navalized version of
that, the SH-60B Seahawk. Thailand is getting six MH-60S choppers, plus spare parts
and technical support, for about $41 million per helicopter.
This is the first export
sale of the MH-60S, which entered service five years ago. Currently, the U.S.
Navy is using about a hundred of them, and expects to have 237 by 2011. The
MH-60S was designed to replace existing 11 ton, 1960s era, CH-46D helicopters.
The ten ton MH-60S is superior to the older CH-46D in most ways (load, range,
speed, reliability), but is smaller, so it can use the landing pads on
destroyers and frigates. The navalized versions of the UH-60 are more expensive
because of anti-corrosion features (salt water rusts unprotected metal and
damages other components), more powerful engines, folding blades, a hoist
system, more advanced electronics and numerous other changes.
Thailand wanted a
navalized helicopter to use along its long coastline, for military and disaster