Procurement: Thailand First Foreign Customer for MH-60S


June 22, 2007: Thailand 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 relief missions.


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