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New Airbus H145 helicopter joins SA Police fleet

written by Jake Nelson | July 9, 2024

Airbus H145 helicopter VH-8D3 is operated for SA Police by Babcock. (Image: Babcock Australasia)

South Australia Police has added a new Airbus H145 helicopter to its fleet.

Registered VH-8D3, the helicopter, owned and operated by Babcock Australasia, will replace an existing Bell 412 in the State Rescue Helicopter Service (SRHS) as part of a $150 million, four-year contract extension.

Babcock says the new helicopter is “quieter, faster, lighter, more manoeuvrable and more fuel efficient” than existing aircraft in the fleet, and will provide SA Police with “greater operational scope and responsiveness”.

The H145 has a cruising speed of up to 240km/h and can fly up to 650km or 3.5 hours without refuelling, and will be equipped with enhanced safety features and a “full suite” of mission and communications systems.

According to Babcock, it can operate day and night in all weather conditions, and will consume 35 per cent less fuel.

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“One of Babcock Australasia’s key remits is to create a safe and secure world, together, and we are proud to be partnering and supporting the State Rescue Helicopter Service here in South Australia, where we are headquartered,” said Babcock Australasia CEO Andrew Cridland.

“We are also extremely pleased to be able to deliver this latest generation aircraft with a configuration that has been designed in collaboration with SAPOL to best suit its needs.

“This new twin-engine helicopter will provide a critical uplift in capability for South Australia Police, giving officers onboard the tools they need to fulfil their duties to maximum effect as they combat crime and protect the community.”

According to SA Police commissioner Grant Stevens, the helicopter will add agility to the state’s emergency response fleet, which completes a combined average of 1,300 missions over 2,000 flying hours every year.

“This modern addition enhances our operational capabilities and ensures a safer South Australia for all residents,” he said.

SA Police’s current Bell 412 will remain in operation while pilots, aircrew and police tactical flight officers undergo “rigorous training” with the new H145. Babcock has also recruited and trained four new pilots.

Christian Venzal, managing director for Airbus Helicopters in Australia and New Zealand, said the new aircraft is “the most advanced five-bladed H145 helicopter available for law enforcement missions”.

“As the quietest helicopter in its class, along with its leading safety and performance capabilities, we look forward to seeing the H145 supporting critical operations while serving and protecting the community of South Australia,” he said.

A second replacement helicopter, a Bell 412EP, will be earmarked for SA Ambulance Service (SAAS) medical rescues and retrievals, and is slated to arrive in December.

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