One of the first pair of H145M helicopters handed over to the Royal Thai Navy on 29 April 2016. Source: Royal Thai Navy 202 Squadron
- Thailand will equip its offshore patrol vessels with the H145M helicopter
- Aircraft will bolster the patrol vessels’ maritime surveillance and search-and-rescue capabilities
The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) is planning to deploy its new H145M light utility twin-engine helicopters from its Pattani- and modified River-class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), the service’s 202 Squadron confirmed with IHS Jane’s on 5 May.
The RTN completed technical acceptance of its first two H145M aircraft from Airbus Helicopters on 29 April. The aircraft are part of a 2014 contract for five airframes. However, the first two helicopters will remain in Germany for a pilot training programme that is scheduled to begin in May 2016.
The RTN currently operates two Chinese-made Pattani-class OPVs, HTMS Pattani (511) and HTMS Narathiwat (512), commissioned in December 2005 and April 2006 respectively, and one indigenously produced modified River-class OPV, HTMS Krabi (551), that has been built to a BAE Systems design. Krabi was commissioned in August 2013.
The service is also anticipating the delivery of a second modified River-class OPV, the contract for which was announced in January 2016.
According to Airbus Helicopters, the H145Ms being supplied to the RTN have been equipped for a range of military missions that include search-and-rescue (SAR), reconnaissance, and medical evacuation operations.
The platform also features a weather radar system, cargo hooks, and an internal long-range fuel tank system. The 202 Squadron confirmed that the platform has been fitted with two machine gun pedestals, one each on the port and starboard doors.
IHS Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft lists the H145M as having a maximum take-off weight of 3,585 kg and a maximum underslung payload of 1,500 kg. The aircraft can attain a service ceiling of 6,095 m and a maximum rate of climb of 20,000 ft/min.
All five airframes are expected to be handed over to the RTN by September 2016.
Royal Thai Navy Pattani-class OPVs
HTMS Pattani (511)
His Thai Majesty’s Ship (HTMS) Pattani was the first of two such vessels ordered from China Shipbuilding in 2003. The classification of these ships is confused, as they are sometimes called Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV), but possibly they are too heavily armed for that appelation, and frequently called frigates, but possibly their displacement is closer to that of a corvette. The Thai Navy’s Pattani-class OPV bears a resemblance to the subsequent Chinese Type 056 corvette / light frigate, though the later is up-gunned relative to the the Thai OPV, with four YJ-3/C803 ASM and a FL-3000N RAM launcher aft, while the former has a much taller superstructure.
The Pattani is an interesting example of how Chinese hulls can be integrated with Western, sensors and weapons systems. Not much has been heard about its performance or build quality, but both were said to be better built than the older Chinese frigates.
FB Page 511เรือหลวงปัตตานี HTMS Pattani
|Length||95.5 meters / 310 feet|
|Displacement, Full Load||1,440 tons|
|Engines||2 x Ruston 16RK270 diesel engine|
|Range||3,500nm @ 15kts|
|Armament||1 x 76mm 62 Caliber OTO-Melara SuperRapid DP
2 x 20mm 70-caliber AAA
2 x 12.7mm machine gun