New Units To Replace Aging AS355 N Squirrels
Three new Eurocopter EC145 helicopters were officially
introduced into service with the Metropolitan Police Air Support
Unit Wednesday at its base in Lippitts Hill, Loughton, Essex.
Fitted with the latest equipment, the EC145 will mark a new era
in Police Air Support in the United Kingdom, according to
The three AS355 N "Squirrel" helicopters the Metropolitan Police
have been operating since 1993 will be replaced by the new
The EC145 is the company's latest entry into the light
twin-engine helicopter market. The platform is designed with
multi-mission capability in mind and is powered by two Turbomeca
Arriel 1E2 engines. The helo is capable of carrying one or two
pilots and eight or nine passengers.
With a cruise speed of 135 kts, an advanced night vision goggle
cockpit, digital autopilot for both single or dual pilot
applications and an endurance of up to 3.5 hours, the EC145 is
ideally suited for police work.
The primary role of the new EC145s will be surveillance, but
with the flexibility of its cabin and its payload/range performance
with the role-adaptable mission systems, the department will be
able use them for a variety of applications.
Technology-wise, the new units will have an advanced police
communication suite, a Wescam MX-15 Electro Optic sensor, a
SkyQuest touch screen video management system and a Gigawave
digital video link that will enable officers to use them in
incident command situations.
But, even when with all the bells and whistles, there is still
room for three more officers or two police dog cages. The rear
observer's workstation can be removed in fifteen minutes to provide
space for up to six additional officers in the main cabin.
Even in this utility configuration, the forward police observer,
seated in the co-pilot's position, still maintains control of the
entire mission sensor suite and the rear cabin team has full access
to all tactical radios and a fold down screen to view any of the
available infra-red or TV imagery.