The German Federal Police today formally accepted its remaining two EC155 B1 helicopters from Eurocopter to complete an extensive fleet upgrade program involving 20 of these versatile, multi-role, twin-engine rotary-wing aircraft.
A ceremony at Blumberg, Brandenburg marked the service entry of the 19th and 20th EC155 B1s, joining others that are deployed at German Federal Police bases throughout the country for a wide range of duties – including border patrol, transportation of personnel and special forces, along with diverse search-and-rescue missions.
With the two latest aircraft, the German Federal Police now operates a total inventory of 87 helicopters – all of which were supplied by Eurocopter.
This positions the service as Eurocopter’s largest European law enforcement customer, continuing a relationship that covers several decades. It includes the predecessor German Federal Border Guard’s role as the EC155 B1 launch customer – placing the first three production rotorcraft in service during 1999. Since then, Eurocopter has consistently enhanced the EC155 B1’s capabilities, culminating in the maritime version’s deployment for missions involving over-water flights.
Today’s acceptance ceremony was attended by Klaus Dieter Fritsche, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of the Interior; Matthias Seeger, President of the German Federal Police; and Eurocopter President and CEO Lutz Bertling.
“As an industry-leading innovator, Eurocopter works with the most advanced operators – exemplified by the German Federal Police, which has frequently contributed to enhancements incorporated in our helicopter product line,” Bertling said. “Such a two-way dialog has enabled Eurocopter to become no. 1 in the police and public service helicopter marketplace.”
Speaking on behalf of the German Federal Police, Seeger said his service is pleased with the results of its major Eurocopter rotorcraft procurement project. “Thanks to this success, we can be proud of operating a helicopter fleet that is without equal in Europe in terms of advanced equipment, efficiency and size,” he added.
The EC155 is a medium-weight, 5-metric-ton-class helicopter in Eurocopter’s Dauphin family. It is powered by two 935 shp. Turbomeca Arriel 2C2 engines for excellent performance, and features a modular design that facilitates the rotorcraft’s use in a range of diverse missions.
In addition to a spacious cabin accommodating seating for up to 13 passengers and two pilots, the EC155 can carry up to 2 metric tons of heavy equipment in the cargo configuration. The modern glass cockpit incorporates digital avionics and a four-axis autopilot, considerably reducing the pilots’ workload and allowing them to concentrate on the more demanding aspects of each mission.
Moreover, the helicopter’s low vibration levels provide ideal conditions for the specialized mission equipment employed by police forces. For the German Federal Police’s EC155 B1s, this equipment includes day-and-night vision cameras, powerful searchlights and loud-hailer systems, a 90-meter winch cable, and an extensive package of data communication systems for the transmission of aerial imagery and video sequences.
In addition to the German Federal Police’s EC155 B1s, the service’s air wing helicopter fleet includes Eurocopter’s EC135 T2i rotorcraft for police work, disaster control, and air rescue operations; the AS332 L1 Super Puma for long-haul transportation, air surveillance missions, interventions by the GSG 9 special operations unit, sea rescue missions, disaster relief in Germany and abroad, and VIP transportation; as well as the EC120, which is used for flight training flights.
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