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Babcock delivers new Airbus H145 helicopter to support South Australia’s emergency services

Photo: (L-R) South Australian Police and Emergency Services Minister Dan Cregan, South Australian Police Commissioner Grant Stevens, Babcock Australasia CEO Andrew Cridland, Babcock Australasia Aircrew Officer Sam Wyld and Babcock Australasia Pilot Matthew Reiter. Photo and Article courtesy of Babcock Australasia.

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A new Airbus H145 helicopter with enhanced capability has taken to the skies across South Australia after being delivered to the State Rescue Helicopter Service (SRHS).

The Babcock Australasia (Babcock) owned, operated, and maintained aircraft will be used exclusively by South Australia Police (SAPOL) as part of its law enforcement efforts.

The latest generation aircraft is quieter, faster, lighter, more manoeuvrable and more fuel efficient than existing aircraft within the fleet, providing greater operational scope and responsiveness to SAPOL.

The H145’s state-of-the-art design significantly reduces its noise profile, making it almost 10 times quieter than the outgoing aircraft, benefiting both the community and the crew who operate it.

Other standout features of the aircraft include:

  • a cruising speed of 240 kilometres per hour
  • the ability to fly up to 650km or 3.5 hours without refuelling
  • a full suite of communications equipment and missions’ systems including Night Vision Imaging Systems technology and electro optic and infra-red sensors
  • capacity to operate day or night, and in all weather conditions
  • enhanced safety features including improved autopilot and avionics systems designed to reduce pilot workload and fatigue
  • 35 per cent less fuel consumption, equating to a saving of roughly 3.6 tonnes in CO2 emissions per year.

Four new pilots have also been recruited and trained by Babcock as part of its long-standing commitment to enhancing SRHS’s operational capabilities. These additional crewmembers create a valuable third line of flying for emergency service personnel.

The Airbus aircraft is one of two replacement helicopters to be provided by Babcock this year, as part of a $150 million, four-year contract extension with the SRHS. The second aircraft – a Bell 412 EP – will be configured specifically for SA Ambulance Service (SAAS) medical rescues and retrievals. It is scheduled to arrive in December.

The aircraft will allow for better resourcing during times of peak operation and relieve pressure on existing services.

“One of Babcock Australasia’s key remits is to create a safe and secure world, together, and we are proud to be partnering and supporting the State Rescue Helicopter Service here in South Australia, where we are headquartered,” Babcock Australasia Chief Executive Officer Andrew Cridland said.

“We are also extremely pleased to be able to deliver this latest generation aircraft with a configuration that has been designed in collaboration with SAPOL to best suit its needs.

“This new twin-engine helicopter will provide a critical uplift in capability for South Australia Police, giving officers onboard the tools they need to fulfil their duties to maximum effect as they combat crime and protect the community.”

Each year on average, the state’s emergency fleet completes a combined 1,300 missions, equating to more than 2,000 flying hours.

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said the cutting-edge resource promised to keep the force agile and revolutionise police operations across metropolitan areas.

“This modern addition enhances our operational capabilities and ensures a safer South Australia for all residents,” Commissioner Steven said.

The Airbus H145 is currently undergoing rigorous training, with pilots, aircrew and police Tactical Flight Officers honing their skills to ensure seamless integration into SAPOL’s existing capabilities. Upon completion of training, the new aircraft will replace the current SAPOL Bell 412 helicopter, which will continue to operate alongside it during the training period. This strategic transition ensures uninterrupted service while embracing modern technology.

“Airbus is proud to equip the South Australian Police Force and Babcock with the most advanced five-bladed H145 helicopter available for law enforcement missions. As the quietest helicopter in its class, along with its leading safety and performance capabilities, we look forward to seeing the H145 supporting critical operations while serving and protecting the community of South Australia,” Christian Venzal, Managing Director Airbus Helicopters in Australia and New Zealand, said.

The SRHS operates 24 hours a day, year-round, providing critical emergency response across the state. It specialises in aeromedical retrievals from rural hospitals and accident scenes, search and rescue missions on-land and at sea and airborne law enforcement.

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