London’s Metropolitan Police Air Support Unit in June flew its 5,000th hour (in almost two years) with its fleet of three Eurocopter EC 145s equipped with Skyquest Aviation’s video-management system. The aircraft feature five mission-management screens and several recording devices. The crew can view multiple sensors at once.
Metropolitan Police Air Support Unit
The UK’s Home Office has announced funding for six new police Eurocopter EC 135s. The £5 million ($7 million) capital grant for air support is part of the first joint procurement by six UK police forces. The Police Air Support Units in Suffolk, Cheshire, North Wales, Cleveland, Midlands and Chilterns will each receive a new Pratt & Whitney Canada-powered EC 135P2i.
Last month the Aviation Unit of Miami-Dade Police Department took delivery of the first of four new Eurocopter AS 350B3s. The remaining three helicopters will be delivered at the rate of one annually over the next three years. In Texas, the Department of Public Safety took delivery of its first EC 145.
Police and emergency services helicopters have undergone a dramatic metamorphosis since the mid-1980s, evolving from the equivalent of the Sopwith Camel to a worthy contemporary of the Eurofighter Typhoon, according to McAlpine Helicopters commercial director Dick Richardson. McAlpine, a Eurocopter distributor, outfits public-service helicopters in the UK.
The air-medical market just keeps on reaping benefits for the world’s No. 1 producer of civil helicopters.