Last week AH-1F Cobra accidentally fire Hydra unguide rocket on troops in assault demonstration in front of RTA commander-in-chief General Anupong Paojinda. 19 soldiers were injured but all are safe now. Gen Anupong Paojinda already order to conduct the investigation on it.
AH-1F Cobra of Royal Thai Army are in service for around 10 years. It’s an second-hand chopper from desert in USA. Original order is 4 aircrafts but one was down in northern Thailand during a training many years ago.
Rumors said that RTA was taken delivery of another 7 AH-1Fs in January but there are still no official confirmation on this. Maybe we need to wait if RTA will reveal its new Cobra on 12 June which is the Army Aviation Day.
Rocket fire mishap injures 19 soldiers
By: WASSANA NANUAM
Published: 29/01/2009 at 12:00 AM
LOP BURI : Nineteen soldiers were injured yesterday when a rocket fired from a helicopter during a military drill exploded before reaching its target.
Three soldiers were seriously wounded.
The incident occurred when a rocket fired from a Cobra chopper malfunctioned and exploded in midair.
Troops on the ground were hit by shrapnel. The three seriously injured soldiers suffered head, lung and leg wounds and were sent to hospital.
There was a delay in initially treating the injured as those who received frantic calls for help thought it was all part of the drill, a military source said.
Two hundred troops from the Special Warfare Centre and Task Force 90 took part in the hour-long drill at the Special Warfare Centre near Jeen Lae mountain in Lop Buri’s Muang district.
Two Blackhawk helicopters, two Chinooks and two Cobra choppers from the Army Aviation Centre were taking part in the exercise. The drill included air logistic support, the firing of rockets and parachute exercises.
Army chief Anupong Paojinda and chief-of-staff Prayuth Chan-ocha watched the drill from a tower five kilometres from the training site. Gen Anupong later visited the wounded and ordered an investigation into the incident.
Gen Anupong has promised to provide special warfare troops with full support and assistance. He told those taking part in yesterday’s drill to be always prepared for any crisis.
The military source said the incident was probably a result of “old” equipment.
“The military dare not use new weapons for drills,” he said.
“They have to bring old pieces kept in the depot. Some of them may be below par.”
The source said the army wanted to ensure troops, particularly those stationed near the Cambodian border, were well prepared.