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Thai army to acquire eight U.S. light attack helicopters

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BANGKOK (Reuters) – The Thai army plans to buy eight US-made helicopters in a deal worth 4.2 billion baht ($ 137.17 million), the army spokesman said on Thursday.

The purchase of the eight Boeing Co. AH-6i light attack reconnaissance helicopters and related equipment is the second largest US-made arms acquisition by the Thai army this year, following a period of arms negotiations with China during the former military regime. .

Boeing representatives were not immediately available for comment.

Last month, the Thai army announced plans to purchase 70 US-made Stryker armored vehicles worth 3.7 billion baht ($ 120.84 million), the first time Washington has exported this type of vehicle through its Foreign Military Sales program, a spokeswoman for the US Embassy in Bangkok. told Reuters.

The United States restricted military aid to Thailand after a 2014 coup and the Thai military later turned to China and other countries for weapons.

But ties improved after Thailand held an election earlier this year that officially restored civil government, although the new government is led by former junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha.

"Thailand and the US have long maintained good relations and we have trained together," said Kongcheep Tantravanich, spokesman for the Thai Ministry of Defense.

"Thai weapons must come from many sources," he said, adding, "We have to keep a balance with everyone to be accepted by everyone."

Earlier this month, the Thai navy said it planned to buy a Chinese-made amphibious transport vessel in a deal worth 6 billion baht ($ 195.95 million). ($ 1 = 30,6200 baht) (Report by Panu Wongcha-um and Panarat Thepgumpanat; Raju Gopalakrishnan Edition)

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