Queensland Police Service contracts for first helicopter

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The Queensland Police Service has signed a contract with Heliwest of Jandakot, Western Australia, to supply the force with its first helicopter. The aircraft will be operated by Heliwest pilots and crewed by Queensland Police officers. The Bell 206 Long Ranger is initially being flown for the Gold Coast City Council in a six-month trial to assess its crime fighting capabilities.

Heliwest chief pilot Captain Ashley Williams said the Long Ranger was ideally suited for the task. He added: “We will be equipping this machine with forward looking infra-red (FLIR) camera capability and a powerful Night Sun searchlight. And we’re also operating with night vision goggles for the pilots and observers, giving the helicopter additional tactical capabilities.”

Captain Williams said that Heliwest crews were highly experienced in military and paramilitary tactical operations, adding that the company is one of only three night vision goggle training schools: “The pilots we’re tasking to crew this helicopter have broad police and military flying experience. The combined capabilities will be particularly useful in both high-level and low-level, night-time operations.”

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