Interior Ministry purchases three French helicopters for firefighting, mountain rescue

About 1,500 aircraft of the H145 helicopter family are in service around the world. Photo: u278/Public domain, 20 Dec 2022 - 12:38, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia has signed a contract with French company Airbus Helicopters on purchase of three H145 helicopters designated for firefighting and mountain rescue, in an agreement that involves a trade-in of a rotary wing aircraft purchased by the former Government but left unused over the years.

The €26.5 million deal involves the Government saving €5,500,000 by trading in an AS332 Super Puma helicopter, which the Ministry said had been purchased “for high officials" during the United National Movement Government and later became a subject of controversy over its use. The current Government has been looking to sell or exchange the aircraft over the recent years.

Photo: Ministry of Internal Affairs

The deal will see the purchase of three H145s - a twin-engine aircraft that can carry up to nine passengers along with two crew, depending on configuration.

While the helicopter is marketed for passenger transport, corporate transport, emergency medical services, search and rescue, parapublic and utility roles, the version obtained by Georgian authorities will be equipped for firefighting and mountain rescue purposes.

This type of helicopter is distinguished by the ability to operate and manoeuvre at high altitudes, which, considering the mountainous terrain of Georgia, will be fully compatible with the existing tasks", the Ministry said.

Photo: Ministry of Internal Affairs

The first helicopter is scheduled to be delivered within 17 months after the signing of the contract, and all three aircraft will be in Georgia within 20 months "in full flight condition", the state body also added.

Along with the hardware, the contract includes pilot and engineer training, spare parts supply and a three-year factory warranty.