The Botswana Police Service will be receiving its three new Enstrom 480B helicopters in August, after their delivery was delayed by two months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Safomar Aviation, Enstrom’s local dealer, in December 2019 announced the order, which was signed at Heliexpo 2020 in January. Delivery was scheduled for the second quarter of this year but this has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The turbine helicopters are now expected to arrive around August, Botswana Police Air Support division Director Arthur Johnson told Botswana’s Gazette earlier this month.
Once in service, the upgraded Enstrom 480Bs will be used for crime prevention, wildlife conservation, command and control and search and rescue as well as training.
The new helicopters will be customized to the Botswana Police Service specifications and include navigation and communication equipment, cargo slinging and light emergency medical systems. Apart from specialist police duties, the aircraft can be quickly configured for the passenger role and carry three to five people.
Australia’s Trakka Systems will be supplying searchlights and multi-sensor cameras for the helicopters. Trakka Systems last month said it was selected, through local representative Safomar, for the installation of A800 searchlights and TC-300S multi sensor cameras.
“The Botswana Police Air Support division chose Trakka’s range of products following a thorough examination of our total solution offerings, followed by a lengthy and detailed tender and acquisition process,” the company said.
The Enstrom 480B multi-role light turbine helicopter is in service in more than 30 countries and this includes with the Indonesian National Police, Japanese Ground Self-Defence, Royal Thai Army, Colombian Air Force, Chilean Army, US Police departments, Venezuela Air Force etc.
The type first flew in 1989 and entered service in 1993. It is powered by a Rolls-Royce 250-C20W turbine producing 313 kW although maximum continuous power is 206 kW. This gives a maximum speed of 230 km/h and endurance of five hours.