The NSW Police Force Aviation Support Branch has commissioned three new aircraft into operational service.
The three aircraft comprise PolAir 2, a twin-engine Bell 412EPI helicopter, as well as two Cessna Grand Caravan EX 208B fixed-wing turboprops, callsigns PolAir 6 and PolAir 8.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said the state-of-the-art-aircraft would strengthen the Force’s ability to respond to, target, disrupt and prevent crime.
“The addition of these aircraft ensures the NSW Police Force remains at the forefront of aerial law enforcement, while continuing to provide support to police and communities right across the state,” Commissioner Fuller said in a statement.
“The PolAir fleet provides invaluable support across the organisation from assisting during search and rescue missions, maintaining a bird’s eye view on criminals, or conducting major crime investigations and operations.
“While PolAir 2,6 and 8 all have unique capabilities and advanced technology that will prove invaluable during specific operations, they will also serve a general purpose as a highly visible presence to detect and deter crime and support a safer NSW.
“The Aviation Support Branch has a proud time-honoured history of having firsts within our police force and I’m pleased to see the tradition continue with the commissioning three aircraft today.”
The official commissioning ceremony, attended by NSW Governor David Hurley, NSW Police Minister Troy Grant and invited guests, was held on April 10 at the NSW Police Force’s Aviation Support Branch base at Bankstown Airport.
The Bell 412EPI is an upgrade of the venerable Bell 412 and features improved, FADEC-equipped engines and Bell’s BasiX Pro avionics system, including four 10.4in LCD screens.
“PolAir 2 brings superior capabilities that will assist NSW Police with day-to-day operations and with advanced ‘auto hover’ autopilot technology, will be used during winch rescues, particularly near cliffs or over water,” NSW Police said.
Meanwhile, the EX is the latest variant of Cessna’s popular Grand Caravan EX fixed-wing single-engine turboprop.
“The fixed-wing aircraft are fitted with digital glass cockpits for improved safety in flight, as well as large windows allowing a wide field of view to assist during searches of both land and waterways,” NSW Police said.
“In addition, the fixed-wings have heavy lift capability to allow for the transport of cargo, specialist equipment and personnel during extensive search and rescue incidents.”
The addition of the Bell 412 and Caravans brings to eight the total number of aircraft in the NSW Police Aviation Fleet, with the trio joining PolAir 1, (an AS350 B2 Squirrel), PolAir 3, (also an AS350-B2), PolAir 4 (an EC135 P2e), PolAir 5 (also a Bell 412 EPI) and PolAir 7 (also a Cessna Grand Caravan EX).
It is the largest fleet of police aircraft in Australia.