10-Aug-2011 Source: Eurocopter
Namibiaâ€™s Ministry of Safety & Security has ordered a Eurocopter EC145 to expand the capabilities and reach of the Namibia Police Forceâ€™s (NAMPOL) Air Wing.
This new twin-engine helicopter will complement Namibiaâ€™s existing fleet of Eurocopter Ecureuil AS350 B3s in providing comprehensive multi-mission civil protection capabilities in one of Africaâ€™s largest countries.
Manufacture of the rotary-wing aircraft will commence soon at Eurocopterâ€™s DonauwÃ¶rth facility in Germany, where it will be fitted with airborne law enforcement and rescue equipment. The helicopter is scheduled for delivery to NAMPOL in September 2012.
â€œThe EC145â€™s acquisition is part of an evolving modernization program that enables NAMPOL to fulfill its duty in providing civil protection and law enforcement to all Namibians,â€ said Lt. Gen. Sebastian Haitota Ndeitunga, Inspector-General of NAMPOL.
NAMPOL will be the first sub-Saharan police force to operate the Eurocopter EC145, which is a top performer in law enforcement and homeland security missions around the globe. Other worldwide EC145 operators include the London Metropolitan Police Authority, the French Gendarmerie, and numerous European and U.S. state police forces. The U.S. Army has ordered 345 EC145s as its new-generation Light Utility Helicopter requirement, which carry the UH-72A designation in its operation with the military service.
Namibiaâ€™s Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Safety & Security, Mr. Samuel H./GÃ´agoseb, said: â€œDeployment of the newly-acquired EC145 will also grow NAMPOLâ€™s capability and capacity to provide emergency search & rescue, life-saving and vital humanitarian relief support.â€
The multi-mission EC145 can be flown by one or two pilots and carries up to nine passengers. It combines proven and new technologies and is powered by two Turbomeca Arriel 1E2 engines, enabling it to achieve a fast cruise speed of 135 kts (approx. 250 km./hr.) and an endurance of up to 3.5 flight hours. Featuring an advanced night vision goggle-compatible glass cockpit, the EC145 is able to operate in poor visibility conditions, while its digital autopilot allows for either single or dual pilot missions. The helicopterâ€™s unrefueled range is approximately 680 km., and it operates with a low noise level that is 6.7dB below the international standard for similarly-sized helicopters.
â€œThese features, together with its simplified maintenance, make the EC145 the natural choice to augment NAMPOLâ€™s pair of single-engine AS350B3 helicopters, the first of which has been in service since 2009,â€ explained Fabrice Cagnat, CEO of Eurocopter Southern Africa Ltd. (ESAL).
â€œTogether, the EC145 and AS350B3 will provide NAMPOL with unparalleled performance in Namibia â€“ a country that is typified by extreme conditions, including the very hot, dry and dusty conditions in the central plateau and desert regions.â€
With an area nearly twice as large as France, Namibia is a country with long distances between towns and settlements, as well as a 1,580-km. mineral-rich coastline and an economic exclusion zone. This means that aircraft range and endurance are key considerations for NAMPOL, which delivers law enforcement and civil protection throughout the country.
NAMPOL has contracted with Eurocopter Southern Africa Ltd. to provide EC145 type conversion training for pilots and engineers. This activity will take place at Eurocopter in Germany and at ESALâ€™s base near Johannesburg, South Africa. The helicopter will be stationed and maintained at the NAMPOL Air Wing base at Eros Airport, Windhoek.