1-Jul-2014 Source: NPAS
Brand new state-of-the-art camera and mission system equipment is being installed across a third of the National Police Air Service Fleet.
The new equipment integrates a new high end camera with mission planning and mapping systems while retaining existing airframes with plenty of service life left.
This enhancement will allow these aircraft to continue to provide valuable service to the communities NPAS serves.
Some elements of the 22 helicopters in the fleet already have modern equipment but seven of the older aircraft required an upgrade or replacement. Following detailed investigation and engagement with industry, the upgrade route provided the best value for money. This multi-million pound investment will keep NPAS at the forefront of Police Aviation and maximise the use of assets that put criminals on the back foot and provide a very important role in supporting front-line policing.
The NPAS Accountable Manager, Chief Superintendent Ian Whitehouse, said:
“Cameras, searchlights and mission planning equipment are key and integral parts of all police helicopters. We have all seen the power of them in helping to find people on the ground and all of our helicopters are optimised to provide this capability.”
“As part of our drive to ensure that the communities we serve are safer and feel safer we recognised that some NPAS aircraft were worthy of improvement. It is important that we move with the technology as it improves and advances and we are investing this money to ensure all of our aircraft have the best and most appropriate technology available to support officers on the ground.”
“The new camera and searchlight systems are integrated to be able to interact with other technology in the helicopter. This is not just about putting a new camera in an aircraft. It is an entire mission system upgrade with the different parts able to work together or in isolation providing a slick and efficient service delivery.”
“Value for money for the taxpayer was also a very important part in our decision making,” added Chief Superintendent Whitehouse.
“The tendering process was lengthy and we looked at what we specifically needed as part of the package. The team who worked on this programme and provided their expertise have worked tirelessly to ensure this meets our needs and I wish to thank them for all their hard work and effort. Operating a significant fleet of Airbus Helicopters EC135s means that we know what works for us in policing and these modifications have been tailored to our needs.”
“The investment is between £5m and £10m and has been awarded to Bond Helicopters Europe. We had many suppliers who submitted bids through our procurement team and I look forward to continuing to work with industry providers to ensure NPAS is recognised as a world leader in Police Aviation.”
West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson is the Chair of the NPAS National Strategic Board and said:
“In a time of unprecedented cuts to policing, I am fully committed to achieving value for money, not just for West Yorkshire, but across the country.
“This latest agreement will ensure that the NPAS fleet continues to provide the best possible service to the public through the latest standards in aircraft technology.
“By harnessing innovation in the sector, we can continue to bring about genuine benefits to front line policing and all at a lower cost.”
Director of Design and Completion at Bond Helicopters Europe, Jeremy Liber, said: “This is a complex upgrade, but our experienced team took an innovative approach to designing and integrating the very best mission systems, which we believe will make a real difference to the helicopters’ crime-fighting capabilities.
“We are looking forward to working with NPAS to deliver seven world-class police air assets, supported into the future.”