Las Vegas police are lined up to get a new H145 to help it deal with an aging search-and-rescue helicopter fleet operating in an inhospitable operating environment.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Committee on Fiscal Affairs approved the purchase of a new Airbus Helicopters H145 Monday following more than a year of discussions. The committee authorized a $9.6 million budget—$3.6 million more than initially earmarked—to purchase the new Airbus Helicopter SR aircraft.
The H145 is scheduled for completion in March 2017, after which the department’s SAR team plans to add helicopters to its current fleet—a pair of 1973 Bell UH-1 Hueys.
An official with the police department told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the 45-yr-old Hueys have performed well but are showing signs of age that go “beyond a maintenance issue,” like cracking frames.
The police dept.’s roughly $539 million fiscal year 2015-2016 budget had allotted $6 million for an additional helicopter. But southern Nevada’s high and hot climate provoked the department initially to consider airframes priced between $12 million and $14 million before settling on Airbus’ twin-engine light utility model. The H145’s two enhanced Turbomeca Arriel 2E engines are designed for high-and-hot performance and permit a pilot to land safely if one engine malfunctions.