28-Oct-2021 Source: NSW Police
The NSW Police Force (NSWPF) Aviation Command’s newest high-tech helicopters have been officially launched at a commissioning ceremony in Sydney today.
The three Bell 429 helicopters – PolAir 1, 3 and 4 – will be used to support the Force with patrols, search and rescue, surveillance, and specialist operations across the state.
The choppers carry the latest technology in airborne law enforcement, including a Trakka beam, FLIR HDc 380 camera system, advanced mapping systems, tactical radios, and a rescue hoist winch.
The equipment enhances the helicopter’s capabilities and allows a greater response to any job, at any time, be it search and rescue or surveillance, whereas previously a change of aircraft may have been needed.
The helicopters are also fitted with twin-engines making them faster, more comfortable and safer to fly than some of their predecessors.
The helicopters were funded by the $50m Future Light Helicopter Program.
The NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and the Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott today (Tuesday 26 October 2021) joined NSWPF Commissioner Mick Fuller and Aviation Commander Superintendent Brad Monk at the Aviation Command to unveil the new aircraft.
Commissioner Mick Fuller said each helicopter had been purpose-built to policing specifications.
“The Bell 429 helicopters have been specifically designed and fitted with the best technology available to carry out search and rescue operations, conduct aerial patrols and surveillance operations,” Commissioner Fuller said.
“Each one has been customised with the most sophisticated equipment, including a FLIR camera system, advanced mapping systems, tactical radio and rescue hoist winch.
“We know that these aviation resources are a vital component to our policing responses, and I am confident that PolAir 1, 3 and 4 will play a critical role in our future operations,” he said.
Aviation Commander Superintendent Brad Monk said the Bell 429s are a welcomed boost to policing across the state.
“These new choppers take us forward and put us at the forefront of airborne law enforcement,” Supt Monk said.
“The upgraded technology means we can better support Police Area Commands and Police Districts in fighting crime from the air, and making the community safer.”
“By now using only two types of helicopters (the Bell 429 and Bell 412), we’ve standardised the fleet making it more cost-efficient to operate and easier to maintain,” said Superintendent Monk.
The Bell 429 aircraft were assembled in Canada in 2020, before being delivered to the Command’s airbase in Bankstown this year.
The aircraft will be maintained by the command’s full-time crew of engineers on-site in the Aviation Command’s fully equipped, purpose-built airbase in Bankstown.
The choppers will replace the aging fleet of helicopters, including AS350 single-engine Squirrel, AS355 twin-engine Squirrel (both operational since the 90s), as well as a twin-engine EC135 (operational since 2012).
The updated fleet consists of five helicopters and three fixed-wing aircraft:
The NSWPF fleet services the state across an area of approximately 800,000 square kilometres, in major land and sea operations, emergency rescues, major incident response, surveillance and reconnaissance, tactical operations, and counter terrorism and organised crime operations/investigations, supporting NSWPF officers and the people of NSW.