The Angolan National Police Force has received all ten of its Eurocopter AS 350 B3 helicopters, bolstering the airborne law enforcement capability of the southern African nation.
Eurocopter made the announcement at the Paris air show today. The latest delivery concludes the 2009 contract to supply a fleet of ten AS350 B3 Ecureuils (Astars), which were delivered between June 2009 and May this year.
“The AS350 B3 provides a very efficient law enforcement solution in our daily operations,” said the official representative of the Angola National Police Force.
Eurocopter said Angola’s choice of the AS350 B3 was based on the model’s ability to operate in hot, high and dusty conditions. Range and payload were primary considerations as the Unit required helicopters capable of patrolling both the dense built up area around the capital city, Luanda, but also to cover smaller towns and communities spread over large areas – Angola is twice the size of Texas, with 5 198 km of land boundaries and a 1 600km long Atlantic Ocean coastline.
The AS350 B3s join the Helicopter Unit’s growing and exclusively Eurocopter fleet, which currently includes six Dauphin AS365 N2 (with emergency medical service capabilities) and 15 AS350 B2/B3 used primarily for surveillance missions.
Angola, which has been one of the world’s fastest growing economies, established its National Police Force 35 years ago when the country achieved independence. Its Helicopter Unit was created in 1992, initially to provide additional security during the country’s first multi-party elections and since which, it has played an integral role in crime prevention and law enforcement in the country, especially since the end of the civil war in 2002.
Over the past decade, the AS350 B3 has been used by other Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) bloc countries, such as Namibia, Botswana and South Africa.
The AS350 B3 is a member of Eurocopter’s Ecureuil family. Some 5 000 Ecureuils have been delivered in 98 countries for some 1 600 operators. These aircraft have cumulated more than 21 million hours.