Thailand is hoping to increase its future fleet of UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopters, after requesting the purchase of additional examples from US contractor Airbus Defence & Space.

Six Lakotas – a military derivative of Airbus Helicopters’ twin-engined EC145 – are already on order for the Royal Thai Army. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on 26 September notified the US Congress of a potential follow-on Foreign Military Sales deal with Bangkok. Worth an estimated $89 million, this would provide another nine UH-72As, plus related support services and spare parts.

“This proposed sale will contribute to Thailand’s goal of upgrading and modernising its military forces with a new light utility helicopter capable of meeting requirements for rotary-wing transportation, while further enhancing interoperability between Thailand, the US and among other allies,” the DSCA says.

If approved, the deal will lead to the production of the UH-72As at Airbus Helicopters’ facility in Columbus, Mississippi.

“The Lakota was competitively selected in 2006 by the US Army as a common, cost-effective platform intended to meet a very broad range of missions," Airbus Defence & Space says. "This latest Lakota sale to a US ally is yet another way the Department of Defense has found to meet its strategic requirements."