New police helicopter officially home

Cayman’s new police helicopter landed on Friday.

The US $11.5 million Airbus H145, the first helicopter purchased solely by the Cayman Islands government, will operate alongside the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Air Operation Unit’s current H145 helicopter. That helicopter was funded by a joint deal between Cayman and the UK.

The total cost of both helicopters is pegged at US $23 million.

“I think that’s a clear indication of the priority and importance we attached to security and [the] capacity to be able to rescue persons who are in distress,” said Premier Alden McLaughlin, who attended the landing, along with Governor Martyn Roper and RCIPS representatives. He added that having both choppers enhances the ability to assist in medical emergencies, “because that is becoming increasingly important, to be able to medevac our people when there is need for that”.

The new helicopter replaces the EC135 chopper damaged earlier this year in a forced landing caused by a technical fault.

Roper said the two helicopters will increase Cayman’s capabilities to perform search-and-rescue, law-enforcement and border-patrol operations, as well as support disaster-relief efforts in the region.

This new helicopter also means that Cayman will not be without air cover during times when one chopper is out of service due to maintenance or deplyment overseas when assisting in emergency situations, the governor added.

“I also think the technology on these helicopters is state of the art, the best in the world, and anyone out there considering breaking our laws should be very aware of the power of surveillance and radar that these helicopters have to monitor what goes on at sea and on land,” he said.

The premier stressed the importance of the two helicopters to the safety and security of the country.

“It’s an incredible moment really. This new helicopter brings redundancy and capability, so that we always have one,” McLaughlin said.