Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) has been selected to upgrade 19 Bell UH-1H helicopters belonging to the Thai air force. IAI expects the $23 million contract to be signed shortly.

The Israeli company was selected after the Thai air force scrapped a previous tender in which BAE Systems Australia was to perform the upgrade.

IAI will equip the transport helicopters with new avionics that will enable them to stay in operational service until at least 2010. Modifications will also be made to the fuselage and rotors.

IAI is now trying to win a contract from the Thai army, which is planning to upgrade its 60 UH-1Hs with a similar avionics package as part of a broader modernisation programme.

Source: Flight International