The NSW Police Force (NSWPF) Aviation Command launched operations of their three Bell 429 aircraft during a commissioning ceremony. The three Bell 429 helicopters – PolAir 1, 3 and 4 – will be used to support the Force with patrols, search and rescue, surveillance, and specialist operations across the state.
The platforms carry the latest technology in airborne law enforcement, including a Trakka beam, FLIR 380 HDc camera system, advanced mapping systems, tactical radios, and a rescue hoist winch. The equipment enhances the helicopter’s capabilities and allows a greater response to any job, at any time, be it search and rescue or surveillance, whereas previously a change of aircraft may have been needed. The helicopters are also fitted with twin-engines making them faster and more comfortable to fly than some of their predecessors.
Commissioner Mick Fuller said each helicopter had been purpose-built to policing specifications. “The Bell 429 helicopters have been specifically designed and fitted with the best technology available to carry out search and rescue operations, conduct aerial patrols and surveillance operations,” Commissioner Fuller said. “Each one has been customised with the most sophisticated equipment, including a FLIR camera system, advanced mapping systems, tactical radio and rescue hoist winch.”
Aviation Commander Superintendent Brad Monk said the Bell 429s are a welcomed boost to policing across the state. “These new choppers take us forward and put us at the forefront of airborne law enforcement,” Supt Monk said. “The upgraded technology means we can better support Police Area Commands and Police Districts in fighting crime from the air and making the community safer. By now using only two types of helicopters (the Bell 429 and Bell 412), we’ve standardised the fleet making it more cost-efficient to operate and easier to maintain,” said Superintendent Monk.
Recently, the Bell 429 was named the most favored aircraft for the light twin-turbine helicopters category in a customer survey for Business Jet Magazine. With an easily-configurable cabin, the platform can be equipped with law enforcement mission-specific features including an infrared camera, searchlight, removeable and sliding doors, wire strike protection system, optional auxiliary fuel tank, fast rope insertion/extraction system and an equipment operator station with two 17” HD displays and more.
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