Namibia’s Police Force (NAMPOL) today took delivery of a new Eurocopter EC145 helicopter at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition currently being held at Air Force Base Waterkloof outside Pretoria.
Namibia’s Ministry of Safety & Security ordered the twin-engined multi-mission helicopter in 2011 to complement NAMPOL’s existing fleet of Eurocopter AS350B3 aircraft. The new helicopter was manufactured at Eurocopter’s Donauwörth facility in Germany, and has been equipped with various airborne law enforcement and rescue equipment.
Other EC145 operators include the London Metropolitan Police Authority, the French Gendarmerie, several German and US State police forces. In addition, the US Army has ordered 322 military variant EC145s (known as the UH-345 Lakota) as its new-generation Light Utility Helicopter requirement.
“NAMPOL’s EC145 acquisition is part of an evolving modernisation programme, which enables NAMPOL to fulfill its duty in providing civil protection and law enforcement to all Namibians,” said Lt-Gen Sebastian Ndeitunga, Inspector-General of NAMPOL.
Namibia’s Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Safety & Security, Ndeutala Angolo said: “The deployment of the newly acquired EC145 will also grow NAMPOL’s capability and capacity to provide emergency search & rescue, life-saving and vital humanitarian relief support “.
The multi-mission EC145 can be flown by one or two pilots and carries up to nine passengers. It is powered by two Turbomeca Arriel 1E2 engines, giving a cruise speed of 135 kts (approx. 250km/h) and an endurance of up to 3.5 flight hours. It also features a night vision goggle-compatible glass cockpit enabling operations in poor visibility conditions. Its digital autopilot allows for either single or dual pilot missions.
“These features, together with its simplified maintenance, made the EC145 the natural choice to augment NAMPOL’s pair of single-engined AS350B3 helicopters, the first of which has been in service since 2009. Together, the EC145 and AS350B3 will provide NAMPOL with unparalleled performance in Namibia, a country typified by extreme conditions, including the very hot, dry and dusty conditions in the central plateau and desert regions,” said Fabrice Cagnat, CEO of Eurocopter Southern Africa Ltd (ESAL).
NAMPOL has also contracted ESAL to provide type conversion training for pilots and engineers. This will take place at Eurocopter in Germany and also at ESAL’s base at Grand Central Airport near Johannesburg, South Africa. The helicopter will be stationed at the NAMPOL Air Wing base at Eros Airport, Windhoek, where it will also be maintained.