The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) is adding a second helicopter, expected to be in operation mid-2019. The Airbus H145
The accompanying image shows Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin with UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister of State for the Overseas Territories, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon. The pair signed a memorandum of understanding in London on Friday 7th December, under which the UK is contributing 25% of both the purchase price and future running costs of the helicopter from the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund.
The overall cost of the new aircraft is just over US$11 Million, including role equipment and a training package. The project will also see an increase in staffing levels in the Air Operations Unit. Two new tactical flight officers (TFOs) are being recruited from within the RCIPS and an additional pilot will also join the team. In addition one of the existing TFOs will be seconded to National Helicopters in Trinidad for a 3 to 4 year period where he will train and obtain his flying hours to become a pilot captain prior to his return to Cayman as the first local Caymanian helicopter pilot with the RCIPS.
Premier Alden McLaughlin said: “I’m very happy that we are moving forward with a second helicopter and I thank the Governor’s Office for their assistance and the UK Government, in particular Lord Tariq Ahmad, for partnering with us. This helicopter will provide invaluable support to our newly formed Coast Guard agency and the broader national security agencies. This addition to our aerial support will also position us as a centre of excellence with capability and capacity in supporting security, law enforcement, and disaster response for our Caribbean Overseas Territories.”
Lord Ahmad said: ‘The collaboration between Airbus, the Cayman Islands and the UK governments on this project has been excellent and I am delighted that it is moving ahead so quickly. The capability that the new helicopter will bring to law enforcement and missions that will save lives is vitally important. The Cayman Islands have shown their determination to come to the aid of fellow territories during times of crisis and this initiative will also improve the safety and security of all the Caribbean Overseas Territories’.
Governor Martyn Roper said ‘The importance of the role played by the Air Operations Unit in the Cayman Islands is clear. The ability to provide air cover for RCIPS grounds units, to help rescue people at sea and to transport critically ill patients from the Sister Islands is critical to the safety of everyone. The unit also showed its capability and willingness to deploy overseas last year to support relief operations following Hurricane Irma. This has been recognised and the Unit will now take on a wider regional role. I would like to thank the RCIPS, the Governor’s Office, the Premier and the Ministry of Human Resources, Immigration and Community Affairs for the great collaboration that has taken place on this initiative. A proud moment for Cayman.’
The H145 is currently operated in the law enforcement role in Germany, Spain, Argentina, Israel, China and the US, where the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police is the only such operator to date. The new aircraft will operate alongside the existing RCIPS EC135, which was purchased in 2007 having already flown over 7,000 hours with a UK law enforcement unit. For reasons unclear, it took until March 2010 for the RCIPS Air Operations Unit (AOU) to be formed and put into operation.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com
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