Air support

The UK government will be funding the purchase of six police Eurocopter EC135 helicopters as part of a £5m capital grant for air support.

The purchase will be the first joint procurement of the support aircraft by Police Air Support Units in Suffolk, Cheshire, north Wales, Cleveland, the Midlands and the Chilterns. Each unit will receive an EC135P2i helicopter for use as part of a regional consortia in a total of 18 neighbouring police forces.

Markus Steinke, managing director of Eurocopter UK, said: ‘The decision of the Home Office to fund the purchase of six EC135 helicopters for UK police forces confirms our position as the leader in the UK civil and parapublic market as well as valued supplier to the UK government and its civil and military agencies.’

According to Eurocopter, rotary platforms are increasingly being used to provide support for ground operations, particularly in surveillance, search, pursuit and night-time rescue missions.

Each of the helicopters will feature Airborne Law Enforcement and Police Reconnaissance and Surveillance systems as well as daylight and thermal imaging cameras, nightsun search lights, video down-link system and tetra radios. System integration work will be carried out at the Eurocopter service base in Oxford.