Two more police choppers under assembly, to increase fleet to 11

One of three police choppers unveiled on June 29, 2018 at Wilson Airport to be used by the Presidential Escort Unit. [Courtesy]
Two more police choppers are being assembled at the National Police Service airwing at Wilson Airport in readiness for takeoff.

The 5Y-RPU and 5Y-TPU AB206 models are being assembled after they were shipped to the country from the US.

This will increase to 11 the number of helicopters. Of these, seven are serviceable while two are unserviceable.

A spot check at the airwing showed that one of those that are unserviceable- 5Y-DCI which is an MI-17 has structural repairs and the 5Y-EDM which is MI-17 VIP is waiting for shipment of its engine tail rotor shaft.

Two other fixed wing plans for the service-C208 Caravan type- are also unserviceable and need engine overhaul.

On Wednesday, officials at the airwing said they are occupied on a daily basis and hope those under repairs will be addressed soon.

“We currently have two helicopters out on detachment in Boni Forest, Lamu and another in Wajir. The others are on surveillance in Nairobi now,” said an officer at the airwing.

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The 5Y-DCI helicopter had crashed in Boni Forest last year and sustained damages. It was among three others that had been shipped out to Czech Republic for overhaul before the crash.

The others that are now serviceable include 5Y-STA, 5Y-SFA, 5Y-DIG, 5Y-PEU, 5Y-NPW, 5Y-REX and 5Y-NPX.

One of the choppers is dedicated to the Presidential Escort Unit. The unit protects the president and his family.

The new aircrafts estimated to have cost the taxpayers Sh4 billion add into an assortment of police equipment procured so far.

Inspector General of police Hilary Mutyambai said government is keen to build the capacity of the police in line with police modernization drive that has seen the service quipped with new Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) and other equipment.

Police capacity had in the past been affected due to lack of aircrafts and grounded ones.

Mutyambai said modern aircrafts fitted with night vision and infrared capabilities, will be utilized during both day and night operations to provide safety and security at all times.

He underscored the importance of aerial surveillance in police operations adding that NPS is committed to taking the services to the grassroots.

“This airwing will be funded and revamped to meet the modern demands. We are committed to this,” he said.

The airwing has 21 pilots and 39 trainee pilots who form part of 150 staff there.

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