Botswana seeking new police helicopters


The Botswana Police Service (BPS) is looking to acquire at least one more helicopter to replace the one that crashed in April, killing all three people on board.

BPS Air Support Unit director Arthur Johnson told Botswana publication Mmegi that he was hopeful extra helicopters would be acquired in the near future. He said it was urgent that the crashed helicopter be replaced and noted that the police service had plans to expand its helicopter fleet before the crash, with a tender notice issued.
“But right now we are under pressure to replace the lost helicopter so that we can at least go back to our normal routines,” Johnson said. He told Mmegi that two officers are being trained as helicopter pilots in South Africa at the moment, adding to the nine currently trained. If funds permit, Johnson said he would like to send to additional students to South Africa in the next financial year.

The BPS Air Support Branch had five helicopters in 2009 – three Eurocopter AS350 B3s delivered between 2008 and 2009 and two older Bell helicopters, but the latter two are presently unserviceable. The crash in April this year involved one of the AS350s.