The Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) has commissioned into service a new H125 helicopter from Airbus Helicopters, replacing one that crashed last year.
The aircraft, registration LDF-29, is named Thaba Bosiu (LDF helicopters are named after mountains in Lesotho), and was commissioned on 22 November by LDF Commander Lieutenant General Mojalefa Letsoela at Mejametalana Air Base in Maseru.
The latest arrival is to replace the H125 (LDF-19) Thaba Putsoa, which was commissioned in May 2018 but crashed on 20 December, killing one person on board and injuring three others. Thaba Putsoa was in turn acquired to replace an EC135 that crashed in April 2017, killing two and injuring two others.
Letsoela said the Lesotho National Insurance Group (LNIG) assisted the LDF to replace the crashed H125. “Following the crash of Thaba Putsoa LDF 19, the LNIG wanted to know the cause of the fatal incident so that they could replace the crashed helicopter. And it was found later that the cause of the accident was bad weather.”
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Ts’ehlo Ramarou said the new helicopter will assist the government by rescuing people trapped in snow especially in winter in the highlands of the country, and in chasing thieves along the borders of Lesotho and South Africa. Ramarou said helicopters help the government access hard-to-reach places in the highlands of the country.
In December 2018, the Lesotho Defence Force received another H125 from Airbus Helicopters (LDF-23, Mokhele), which was commissioned on 14 December at Mejametalana Air Base.
The Lesotho Defence Force Air Wing has another H125 in service. H125 Litsebe was commissioned on 14 October 2017 along with the rehabilitation of the 1 300 metre long Mejametalana Air Base runway.
Lesotho’s small Defence Force is only believed to have several C212s and a single GA-8 Airvan fixed wing aircraft in service, along with several Bell 412s, a couple of BO 105s and a single Bell 206.