In a ceremony at Emmen on 2nd April, the Swiss military accepted delivery of the first pair of Super Puma helicopters from their upgrade program. The full fleet of 15 will go through this work, with the last one for completion in 2014.
The aim of the program is to both modernize and upgrade the onboard equipment and systems. The fleet was acquired in two batches, the first in 1987-9 and the second in 1991-3. All avionics are being replaced and new systems added too. The key changes are a Flight Management System, two GPS units, an inertial navigation system, digital map, flight data recorders, anti-collision warning system and various radio upgrades. The latter covers the ability to work on police frequencies, via satellite transmissions and in encrypted forms.
After this substantial upgrade, the Super Puma fleet will be comparable to the Cougar fleet also operated by the Swiss Air Force.
The newly upgraded models carry the local designation of TH-06.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com
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