Thailand's cash-strapped armed forces and police are trying to dispose of surplus utility transport and VIP helicopters in an effort to generate revenue badly needed revenue for new aircraft and to maintain the airworthiness of other fleet types.

The Royal Thai Air Force has put its two surviving Royal Flight Eurocopter AS332L2 Super Puma Mk2s on the market, following the fatal crash of another Super Puma in September 1997. The air force is believed to be discussing trading in the VIP-configured machines for either Bell 412s or Sikorsky S-70s.

The Thai army is also trying to find potential buyers for up to half of its fleet of six Boeing CH-47D Chinooks, at least one of which is reported to be grounded. Approaches are understood to have been made to the Singapore armed forces, which maintains a training detachment in Thailand. There appears to be little interest, because of the lack of commonality with Singapore's new digital cockpit CH-47SDs.

The Royal Thai Navy is seeking offers for some of its six Bell 214STs and six 212s, possibly in exchange for new 412s. The navy has also been trying to raise financing to exercise a US Navy offer for up to 10 Kaman SH-2F Seasprites.

Thailand's police force has been assessing the marketability of its 20 Bell 205 helicopters. One idea is to exchange some machines for spares to support newer Bell 412s.

Source: Flight International