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USA: San Diego Police ask for new helicopters

Department needs three new H-125s aircraft to modernize fleet

The San Diego Police Department has asked local authorities for funds to modernize and upgrade the airborne unit's helicopter fleet. At the moment this is in fact made up of three Airbus Helicopters AS-350B3 Écureuil aircraft in service for 18 years. It's an initiative that would have an estimated cost of just under 18 million dollars for the municipal administration.

This is a request linked to the aging of the fleet which determines ever higher maintenance costs due to the "main components of the three old helicopters that have reached their operational life limits". At the moment the San Diego police has received only one new H-125 helicopter, also produced by the European manufacturer Airbus Helicopters, which entered service in 2020. Now the department is requesting three new H-125 aircraft. 

Police said current fleet maintenance expenses for the fiscal year will be 1.63 million dollars for 2,630 flight hours. A department report highlighted that aging aircraft create safety concerns, as well as lack hydraulic backup systems, autopilots, crash-resistant fuel tanks. Deficiencies that would be resolved with an 18 million dollar lease for three new vehicles.

Gic - 1252683

AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency