22-Aug-2013 Source: HeliHub.com
The West Yorkshire Police, tasked with managing Britain’s new National Police Air Service, have released pre-tender documentation for the upgrade of an unspecified number of Eurocopter EC135T2 helicopters. The contract period is for 1 year with a further two potential extensions of 1 year each. HeliHub.com notes that there are currently six EC135T2s under the control of NPAS and a further four which are expected to join the ranks as NPAS completes its national roll-out.
NPAS are looking to award the contract to a single organisation, and the project includes the replacement of existing mission equipment in favour of a newly-specified specification. It is expected that some aircraft may already have some the requested items already fitted, but the clear aim is fleet standardisation. It also means a thumbs-up for the Eurocopter Ec135 as a platform of choice.
There are six EC135P2+ aircraft flying in NPAS, all of which were intentionally completed to the same specification as each other to reduce unit costs – see story. It is not known how the fit of these six aircraft differs from the EC135T2 upgrade, but it is feasible that the Turbomeca-powered aircraft are being brought up to the standard of the Pratt & Whitney Canada fleet, which were completed and delivered more recently.
Equipment listed as within the scope of the upgrade program includes the following, although the wording allows this list to be varied
• TV/TI turret
• Mission system/equipment
• Internal lighting and ventilation
• Airborne searchlight
• Public address system
• ADL system
• Nav/Com radio
We await with interest to see what the plans are for the MD902 fleet in UK law enforcement use. Will they too be standardised? And the EC145s? What of the lone AW109E – is that ready for quietly being sidelined as most industry observers expect?
Ben Haverdee – HeliHub.com