Cayman’s new Royal Cayman Islands Police helicopter arrived at Owen Roberts International Airport on Thursday, greeted with a water cannon salute by the Fire Service.
The black Airbus H145 helicopter made its arrival earlier than originally planned after the police’s existing helicopter sustained damage during an aborted take-off in February, caused by a technical fault, and currently remains out of service.
Once the original aircraft returns to service, the RCIPS will operate both helicopters to provide air support to the police’s land and marine units.
Local dignitaries and police officers were gathering at the airport at press time Thursday to take part in a ceremony to mark the arrival of the new aircraft.
The helicopter was purchased for a little over US$11 million after Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister of State for the Overseas Territories, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, and Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin signed a memorandum of understanding in London in December last year.
According to a press release from the Governor’s Office at the time, the helicopter would be used to “boost Cayman’s capability in the areas of search and rescue, law enforcement and border protection operations. The aircraft will also be used to respond to disasters and other emergency situations in the other UK Caribbean Overseas Territories”.
Under the deal signed in London, the U.K. contributed 25 percent of the purchase price and running costs of the helicopter from the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, while the Cayman Islands picked up the remaining 75 percent.
See Monday’s Cayman Compass for more on this story.