5-Apr-2011 Source: Helibras
(Electronic translation from original Portuguese press release)
The shielding system of Squirrel helicopters produced by Helibras provides protection for crews and aircraft parts considered vital against light weapons with a caliber 7.62 and 5.56 mm level III, enhancing its ability to work in hostile environments.
The installation consists of putting removable plates of material resistant to the impacts of firearms in strategic points of the aircraft. The setting is customized depending on operational need and the risk of the mission. The shielding can range from the cabin floor to a self-sealing fuel tank.
Developed based on operational experience of Squirrel helicopters used by police forces around the world, the system represents an additional cost equivalent to less than 10% of the aircraft. The customer can choose to install all parts or only some of them, according to the degree of threat expected in the mission.
The components of the armor plates are produced with high-performance materials that offer ballistic properties and high adhesion, approved by the strictest European Institutes and Americans, as the laboratory HPWhite, United States, and of Mellrichstadt, Germany. They were developed in conjunction with the INBRA-Aerospace, a Brazilian company specialized in aeronautical shields and certified to supply the armed forces and civilian police and military.
According to the head of the Projects Division of Helibras, engineer Walter dos Santos Filho, “the installation of the armor plate is fully modular and removable, and seeks to bring the aircraft to the operations of specific area or police protection; on their development, complete manufacturing director INBRA-Aerospace, Melis de Bruyn, “The solution developed specifically for this aircraft is resistant to several shots, combining protection and low birth weight and low profile design.”
Blades resist projectiles
The engineer Walter also highlights an additional advantage of the helicopters sold by Helibras when subjected to hostile environments. “The blades of the rotors of our aircraft are produced using a composite material which is superior to the ballistic performance of metal blades. Should reach the blades, the bullets passing through the material without causing cracks, because the conception of the piece, patented by Eurocopter, which prevents the crack from spreading and shovel to break in flight. ” This technology is now in all blades of helicopters produced by Eurocopter.
The Squirrel multimission aircraft model is mostly used by police forces around the world. According to Mauro Henrique Ayres, manager of the Helibras government market, “Currently, more than 330 helicopters of this type, representing over 40% of the market, are employed by the police in countries like the U.S., France and Britain – 160 of them in the U.S.. Police in Los Angeles, California, for example, switched two years ago, its old helicopters produced by Eurocopter Squirrel, counting today, with 15 of these aircraft. ”
In Brazil, about 100 AS350 Squirrel are operated by military and civilian police and fire departments in several states, working in patrol missions, rescue of victims of accidents, fire fighting and search and rescue operations, providing vital support to ground units in hostile environments.
The military police of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais were pioneers in using the helicopter as a factor inhibiting crime. Today, the corporations of the Federal District and the states of Acre, Amazonas, Bahia, CearÃ¡, EspÃrito Santo, GoiÃ¡s, MaranhÃ£o, Mato Grosso, ParÃ¡, ParanÃ¡, Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio Grande do Sul, Roraima, Tocantins and Santa Catherine, as well as National Public Security Force and Federal Police, with aircraft operating Squirrel.