PSNI’s new £7m recruit a real high-flyer
The most hi-tech helicopter in Europe was unveiled yesterday as the PSNI’s latest recruit.
The £7 million Eurocopter EC145 is capable of 150mph and is equipped with state-of-the-art camera and heat-seeking equipment to help track suspects from the air.
A larger version of the EC135, the PSNI’s existing craft with which it will work in tandem, it will use the call sign Police 45.
It can carry up to 10 people and has space for two stretcher casualties in emergencies.
Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris said the new addition would add to the vital support already provided by the current helicopter, codenamed Police 44.
”It will assist in meeting the ever-increasing demands on policing in every part of Northern Ireland,” he said. “It will assist in meeting the ever-increasing demands on policing in every part of Northern Ireland.
“This will include supporting police activities such as investigations, anti-crime operations, traffic management, search and rescue, public order situations, crime reduction initiatives and tackling terrorism.”
Mr Harris defended the £7m cost of the aircraft.
“I believe this is an important long-term investment in everyone's safety,” he said.
“It will provide police with new opportunities to increase our effectiveness and minimise risks. We want to build on the outstanding record of Police 44, which is the busiest police helicopter in the world.”
The PSNI’S new Eurocopter EC 145 is a twin-engine light utility helicopter, and is bigger than the other chopper, the EC135.
Developed for air rescue missions in 1997, it can carry up to 10 passengers, or two stretchered patients with three medics.
The helicopter can be fitted with emergency floats, hoist, searchlight, load hook and other specialist equipment.