WINDHOEK: The Namibian Police Force (NamPol) on Monday received a new helicopter to help expand its airborne law-enforcement reach and civil protection capabilities.
The new state-of-the-art Eurocopter EC145, a twin-engine multi-mission helicopter, was officially commissioned by Minister of Safety and Security Nangolo Mbumba on behalf of President Hifikepunye Pohamba at NamPol’s improved Air Wing hangar facility at the Eros Airport.
Its market value is estimated at N.dollars 50 million.
The commissioning of the police’s newly-acquired helicopter coincided with the official inauguration of NamPol’s improved Air Wing hangar facility this morning. This hangar was constructed at a cost of N.dollars 8 million.
NamPol’s Airwing is now equipped with three state-of-the-art helicopters.
In a speech delivered on his behalf by Mbumba, Pohamba said the procurement of the new helicopter is part of an evolving modernisation programme, which will enable the police force’s Air Wing to fulfill its national duties in providing adequate civil protection and law-enforcement to all Namibians.
The Head of State said the deployment of the newly-acquired EC145 helicopter will also help NamPol to grow its capability and capacity to provide emergency search and rescue, life-saving and vital humanitarian relief support.
The multi-mission EC145 helicopter can be flown by one or two pilots, and carries up to eight passengers.
It combines proven and new technologies, and is powered by two Turbomeca Arriel 1E2 engines, enabling it to achieve a fast cruise speed of approximately 250 kilometres per hour and an endurance of up to 3.5 flight hours, during which time it can cover a distance of 680 kilometres before refuelling.
It also features an advanced night vision goggle-compatible glass cockpit enabling operations in poor visibility conditions.
These features, together with its simplified maintenance, made the EC145 helicopter the natural choice to augment NamPol’s pair of single-engined AS350B3 helicopters, the first of which has been in service since 2009.
“Together, the EC145 and AS350B3 helicopters will provide NamPol with unparalleled performance in Namibia, a country typified by extreme conditions, including the very hot, dry and dusty conditions in the central plateau and desert regions,” explained NamPol Inspector-General, Liuetenant-General Sebastian Ndeitunga at the event.
The new helicopter will be stationed at the NamPol Air Wing base at Eros Airport in Windhoek, where it will also be maintained.
It was manufactured at Eurocopter’s facility in Germany, and has been equipped with various types of airborne law-enforcement and rescue equipment.