Eurocopter, the world’s leading helicopter manufacturer, today delivered an AS350 B3 “Squirrel” to Namibia’s fledgling Police Airwing during a ceremony at the biennial Africa Aerospace & Defence (AAD) exhibition.
This is the Namibian Police’s second helicopter. The Namibia Police Airwing was established in 2009 and has successfully flown its initial AS350 in crime prevention and law enforcement operations throughout the country.
Speaking at AAD, Inspector-General of the Namibia Police Force, Lt-Gen Sebastian Haitota Ndeitunga said: “Namibians like millions of people in other countries around the world, are reaping the benefits of this investment in modern, versatile, reliable and efficient crime-fighting assets such as our AS350 helicopters”.
Eurocopter Southern Africa’s Chief Executive Officer, Fabrice Cagnat, said: “We are proud that Eurocopter and the AS350 helicopter were selected to support the Namibian Police Airwing for this crucial law enforcement and crime prevention requirement.”
In addition, Eurocopter Southern Africa Ltd has facilitated rotary-wing flight training for two Namibia Police Airwing pilots at Starlight Aviation in Durban and conducted type conversion training for two experienced pilots in Namibia. Eurocopter has also sponsored training by Carl Zeiss Optronics for two LEO system operators. The LEO system incorporates a set of day and night optical sensors and cameras, enabling the helicopter crew to conduct surveillance and to track and intercept suspects in daylight and in the dark.
Under a support package, Eurocopter is providing a full set of customised tools and spare parts customised for the Namibian aircraft to ensure the flight availability of the AS350, a helicopter noted for its unsurpassed reliability.
Namibia’s Police Airwing joins similar units in South Africa, Botswana and Angola that also operate AS350 aircraft.
The AS350 was selected for its unmatched performance and efficiency in Namibia’s typically hot and high elevation conditions. Its Turboméca Arriel 2B1 engine generates greater power, enabling the helicopter to carry heavier and versatile payloads (including sling load capacity) and to fly at a higher cruising speed in comparison with other similar size machines.
The AS350 performance and capabilities have resulted in its selection as the preferred helicopter for airborne police missions. Including Namibia, more than 368 of these helicopters are operated by 120 police forces in 22 countries around the world. In addition, about 82 twin-engine AS355 are operated by 35 police forces in 21 countries.
Eurocopter Southern Africa (Pty.) Ltd. was formed in 1994. It has its headquarters at Lanseria International Airport as well as a service centre in Cape Town. Eurocopter Southern Africa serves a fleet of more than 240 helicopters.
Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a Division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defence and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approx. 15,600 people. In 2009, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market, with a turnover of 4.6 billion Euros, orders for 344 new helicopters, and a 52 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors.