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Police to receive new helicopter from Italy, with two more on the way

Monday April 4 2016

An AgustaWestland helicopter bought at a cost of Sh683 million by the National Police Service (NPS) which will be delivered at Wilson Airport, Nairobi, on April 6, 2016. PHOTO | ANGIRA ZADOCK | NATION MEDIA GROUP

An AgustaWestland helicopter bought at a cost of Sh683 million by the National Police Service (NPS) which will be delivered at Wilson Airport, Nairobi, on April 6, 2016. PHOTO | ANGIRA ZADOCK | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

ANGIRA ZADOCK
By ANGIRA ZADOCK
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An AgustaWestland helicopter bought at a cost of Sh683 million by the National Police Service (NPS) will be delivered at Wilson Airport, Nairobi, on Wednesday.

The AW139 helicopter from Italy is a 15-seater suitable for search and rescue, maritime patrol and law enforcement, among other uses.

The NPS Airwing Director, Colonel Rogers Mbithi, yesterday said that two MI-17 helicopters that were taken to the Czech Republic for overhauls, were expected back in the next two weeks.

The airwing will now have four helicopters and two fixed wing aircraft that are expected to enhance the unit’s capability. This, the government said, was expected to increase aerial patrols, search and rescue operations and support to ground forces.

A Czech company, Lom Praha Trade, was paid Sh370.4 million for the overhaul of two MI-17 helicopters, which were handed over to NPS Chief of Staff William Thwere and Col Mbithi last week in the Czech Republic.

The two senior officers were accompanied by a pilot and an aircraft engineer for flight tests.

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The MI-17 choppers, registration 5YSTA and 5YSFA, are expected to boost police mobility, since they have an endurance of five hours after they were fitted with additional tanks. They can carry 25 troops with full kit, and cruise at a speed of 300kmph.

They have forward looking cameras that senses infrared radiation to help the pilot manoeuvre at night and in fog. They also have a search light of up to 1,600 watts.

Everything on the helicopter is operated digitally, and they are fitted with moving maps. They have advanced night-vision equipment, and are equipped for both Visual Flight Rating and Instrument Flight Rating to enable them to fly during the day and at night.

They also have two turbo shaft engines, model TV3-117BM, each with Shaft Horsepower of 2240. The maximum take-off weight is 13 tons, and a cruise of 157 knots with speed of 300kmh.