- First of two new WA Police Force Airbus H145 helicopters launches into action
- Part of the Cook Government's $54 million upgrade to the Air Wing fleet
- New aircraft significantly improves Air Wing emergency response time
- Second H145 helicopter expected to be operational by early 2024
The aviation asset is part of a $54.3million dollar State Government funded upgrade to the WA Police Force Air Wing fleet.
The investment includes $7.6 million for operating and maintenance costs, along with the recruitment of two licenced aircraft engineers to be based at Jandakot.
Western Australia is the first law enforcement jurisdiction to operate the new H145 helicopter in the southern hemisphere, giving officers access to the most advanced air support technology available.
An Airbus A145 can be rapidly deployed, allowing it to be airborne within two minutes compared to the 10 minutes it currently takes using other aircraft.
This enhanced capability as well as the helicopter's new safety features and reduced maintenance requirements will boost public protection as police respond to emergencies and crime.
A second H145 helicopter is currently under construction in Germany. It's expected to be in Perth and fully operational by March 2024.
The existing BK117 helicopter will remain in service until the second H145 helicopter is fully operational.
The Dauphin helicopter has been successfully decommissioned and traded to Airbus.
Comments attributed to Police Minister Paul Papalia:
"This new helicopter is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, enhancing the aerial advantage WA Police has when responding to evolving emergencies.
"The increased capability means Air Wing can be airborne eight minutes faster than previously possible and that improved response time is invaluable when reacting to a situation where every second counts.
"The WA Police Force has more officers and more operational assets than ever before.
"Soon a second five-blade A145 will join the fleet, further enhancing WA's law enforcement capabilities and delivering consistency in operations, training and maintenance."
Comments attributed to Police Commissioner Col Blanch:
"The H145 provides a significant capability uplift that will enable our people to enforce the law, prevent crime and manage and coordinate emergencies like never before."
"Seconds count when providing timely and quality responses to calls for help. The H145's enhanced technology gives it better take-off performance and the aircraft's ability to respond quickly and provide evidence quality, real-time tactical situational awareness to officers on the ground will facilitate improved decision making and response."
Comments attributed Air Wing Officer in Charge Superintendent Paul Daly:
"Working with officers on the ground, a single aircraft is a proven force-multiplier.
"With its enhanced safety features and significantly reduced maintenance requirements, the five bladed H145 is an ideal aircraft for the various law enforcement missions carried out by Police Air Wing."