The Mauritius Police Force (MPF) has introduced its recently acquired Do 228 and Dhruv aircraft into service after taking delivery from India.
The MPF said the two aircraft were commissioned into service on 27 April during a ceremony at a new Police Hangar at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport. Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth attended the ceremony along with the country’s defence minister and other dignitaries.
“The induction of these modern aircraft is in line with the vision of the Mauritius Police Force to adopt technologically driven solutions to combat crime and render services to the citizens. Apart from significantly bolstering the search and rescue capability, these aircraft will substantially increase the operational capability of the National Coast Guard and Police Helicopter squadron in countering maritime crime,” the MPF said.
The Do 228 was constructed by Hindustan Aviation Limited (HAL) and financed through an Indian loan. The aircraft (MP-CG-5) was handed over by HAL on 6 April and is a Passenger Variant equipped with a glass cockpit. It is powered by twin TPE 331-10 engines equipped with five-blade propellers. In September, India supplied a Do 228 (MSN 4059) to Mauritius under a free lease deal until the new aircraft could be delivered.
The Do 228 will be used to support Mauritius’s outer islands and can be configured for multiple roles, such as air ambulance and search and rescue. It can also be used as a neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
The 27 April ceremony also saw the induction of a Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), which is being leased from the Indian Air Force. The helicopter is fitted with a rescue hoist, cargo hook, and helicopter-fitted stretchers. The Police Helicopter Squadron, in the coming years, will receive a new ALH Mk III. The contract for the Mk III Dhruv was announced in January this year. The Dhruv (MPH 10) commissioned in April is being leased until the new aircraft arrives.
The MPF’s Police Helicopter Squadron (PHS) already operates four HAL Chetaks along with an Airbus Helicopters Fennec, and a Dhruv. The Dhruv was delivered in 2009, while two of the Chetaks were delivered in 2016.
The Coast Guard’s Maritime Air Squadron will operate the Do 228 and currently operates a single BN-2T Defender (MP-CG-2) and three Do 228s, delivered by India in 1990 (MP-CG-1), 2004 (MP-CG-3) and 2016 (MP-CG-4). These are equipped with underwing 7.62 mm gun pods.