The Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Air Wing has taken delivery of an H125 light utility helicopter from Airbus Helicopters, replacing a crashed EC135.
The aircraft (LDF-23, msn 8581 “˜Mokhele’) was ferried to Lesotho on 7 December and was commissioned on 14 December at Mejametala Air Base in Maseru attended by representatives from Airbus Helicopters Southern Africa and LDF commander Lieutenant General Mojalefa Letsoela. He said the aircraft will be used for both military and civil applications, including search and rescue and emergency response.
Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki said the new helicopter is part of the expansion of the Lesotho Defence Force’s aerial capabilities. The new H125 replaces an EC135 that crashed in at Thaba-Putsoa in April 2017, killing two and injuring two others.
The Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Air Wing has two other H125s in service, which were commissioned in 2017 and 2018. H125 “˜Litsebe’was commissioned on 14 October 2017 along with the rehabilitation of the 1 300 metre long Mejametalana Air Base runway. The second aircraft, “˜Thaba Putsoa’, was commissioned in May 2018. All the helicopters are named after mountains in Lesotho.
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.