April 3, 2015:
In Thailand the army has ordered six EC145 helicopters equipped as VIP (Very Important Persons) transports. The 3.6 ton EC145 has a top speed of 260 kilometers an hour and a max range of 660 kilometers. Average endurance per sortie is about two hours. The helicopter has a crew of two, and can carry up to eight passengers, or about three-quarters of a ton of cargo or weapons. The EC145 was introduced in 2002 and has been very popular with its users. These VIP transports are not the first EC145s Thailand has ordered
In 2014 The U.S. government approved a Thailand request to buy nine more UH-72A ("Lakota") Light Utility Helicopters. Thailand already received six of them in 2013. Built by European firm EADS, the UH-72A is a militarized version of the EC145. The UH-72A has about the same capacity as the UH-1 (Huey), despite its smaller size. The UH-72A is well liked in part because it has had a readiness (for flying) rate of 90 percent.
The half century old UH-1 ("Huey") is fading away and often being replaced by similar but more efficient designs. Over 16,000 UH-1s were built, and over 4,000 were lost during the Vietnam War. Some two thousand UH-1s are still in service. The 4.3 ton, single engine, UH-1 could carry two crew and eleven troops, and was the first military helicopter to use gas turbine (jet) engines. This allowed a lighter helicopter to carry more weight. The UH-1 served the army for fifty years, although since the 1990s, most served in reserve units.