WINDHOEK: The Namibian Police Force (NamPol) received a new Eurocopter EC145 helicopter on Thursday which will help to expand its airborne law enforcement reach and civil protection capabilities.
Spokesperson for Eurocopter Southern Africa, Linden Birns in a media statement issued on Thursday noted that the twin-engine multi-mission helicopter was ordered by the Ministry of Safety and Security.
Its market value is estimated at around N.dollars 50 million.
NamPol Inspector-General Lieutenant-General Sebastian Ndeitunga was quoted in the media statement as saying that the procurement of the helicopter is part of an evolving modernisation programme which enables NamPol to fulfill its duty in providing civil protection and law enforcement to all Namibians.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Safety and Security, Ndeutala Angolo said the deployment of the newly acquired EC145 will also grow NamPol’s capability and capacity to provide emergency search and rescue, life-saving and vital humanitarian relief support.
The multi-mission EC145 can be flown by one or two pilots and carries up to nine 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 could comfortably 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.
Chief Executive Offer (CEO) of Eurocopter Southern Africa Ltd (ESAL), Fabrice Cagnat said these features, together with its simplified maintenance, made the EC145 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 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,” he explained.
NamPol also contracted ESAL to provide type conversion training for pilots and engineers. This will take place at Eurocopter in Germany and also at ESAL’s base at Grand Central Airport near Johannesburg, South Africa.
The helicopter will be stationed at the NamPol Air Wing base at Eros Airport in Windhoek, where it will also be maintained.
The new helicopter was manufactured at Eurocopter’s Donauwörth facility in Germany, and has been equipped with various state-of-the-art airborne law enforcement and rescue equipment.
The Ministry of Finance has budgeted over N.dollars 200 million for NamPol to purchase new helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft since 2009, with any outstanding balance to be paid out by 2015.