The Western Australia Police Force has announced the purchase of its second Airbus H145, as part of the state’s planned fleet upgrade.
The state’s Premier, Mark McGowan, said the new helicopter will replace the Eurocopter Dauphin AS365 that has been operating in its fleet since 2011.
The government is now investing more than $54 million in upgrading the Police Air Wing fleet and the Airbus helicopter set to arrive next year.
“Our police helicopters provide vital support to police operations across the state, and the addition of two new H145 helicopters will boost police capability to respond to emergencies and crime challenges,” said Premier McGowan.
Previously known as the EC145, the aircraft will be operated exclusively by the WA Police Force and will be based in Perth.
The twin-engine helicopter can be operated by a single-pilot and allegedly has a lower environmental footprint.
The H145 features a Fenestron shrouded tail rotor and twin Safran Helicopter Arrius 2E engines.
In the WA press release, it touted the jet has an availability rate of up to 95 per cent and will generate higher operational efficiencies compared to the retired Dauphin.
Police Minister Paul Papalia said: “On the ground and in the skies, we’re ensuring our police have a strong presence to keep our community safe.
“These new helicopters will be fitted with the latest avionics equipment and be able to deploy more rapidly than our existing aircraft.”
Minister Papalia said compared with the helicopter’s predecessor, which could be airborne within 10 minutes, the H145 will only take two.
Last June, the department took delivery of its first five-bladed H145 helicopter, being the first Australian customer of the Airbus jet.
“Maintaining a fleet of two identical helicopters will also generate operational efficiencies and result in a greater number of annual flight hours available,” the press release said.
From the millions invested into the fleet, $27.5 million will be spent for the purchase and operation of the H145 helicopter.
Included in that funding is also $7.6 million which will be distributed to recruit two licensed aircraft engineers to be based at Jandakot, Western Australia.
“The H145 is well regarded as a reference law enforcement helicopter,” said Andrew Mathewson, managing director of Airbus Australia Pacific.
“Being able to support the WA Police Force with an H145 fleet, configured to include their mobile policing command post, is something that Airbus is extremely proud to be part of.”
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