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Near new Airbus H145 now in service with the Sûreté du Québec

Chris Madsen

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Quebec's provincial police force has put its new/used Airbus H145 helicopter into service.  It was a controversial purchase back a few years ago, given the hefty price tag.  But the twin engine helicopter is very capable for its intended roles.  The H145 is generally considered a better helicopter than those currently on offer from Bell Textron Helicopters, the other main competitor for police, law enforcement, and military helicopters in Canada, located in Quebec.  But, it does have a short range, given its fuel capacity.

New Airbus H145 for Sûreté du Québec (aviationnewsjournal.com)

The Sûreté du Québec H145 is the second one operating in the police role in Canada, the first procured by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and stationed in E Division at Langley, British Columbia.

The Airbus H145 is ideally suited for supporting the training and deployment of specialized tactical units.

Technical specifications and company brochures are available from Airbus Helicopters Canada, though no specific mention is made to the Sûreté du Québec purchase and presumably operating and maintenance contracts:

H145 - Airbus Helicopters Canada 

Airbus Helicopters Canada is a subsidiary of European parent company Airbus and has a manufacturing, assembly, and overhaul facility in Fort Erie, Ontario.  It was previously called Eurocopter Canada Limited.

Other provincial and municipal police services are no doubt looking at the Airbus H145, and the RCMP will likely buy more as its existing rotary fleet ages, or attrition takes place through accidents and mishaps.  The helicopter adds significant capability to the Sûreté du Québec.

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Last month, Bell Textron Helicopters delivered the last of 23 Bell 429 helicopters to the Canadian Coast Guard, in a contract said to be worth over $338 million.

Joint company and Government of Canada press release:

Bell Textron Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard announce delivery of final Bell helicopter under Coast Guard’s Helicopter renewal plan - Bell (news) (bellflight.com)

The Canadian Coast Guard Bell 429 helicopters are configured and customized for operating over water, and carrying people and goods to remote locations, off ships.  Bell Textron Helicopters, and its parent company, offer a range of helicopters for military and public safety use:

Bell Products (bellflight.com)

Airbus Canada, however, has muscled in on the law enforcement side, generally with better and higher power models.  Those are quite popular with police forces, constabularies, and gendarme in Europe and other countries around the world.  The RCMP turned to Airbus over the last 20 years for replacement and filling out of its rotary fleet.  The RCMP first acquired a Bell 212 helicopter, the venerable "Twin Huey", in 1972. That helicopter operated predominantly in Newfoundland.  The Canadian Forces operated 50 Bell twin-engine CH-135 military helicopters, procured from Texas in 1971, until replaced by the CH-146 Griffon helicopter (a militarized version of a Bell commercial helicopter) in 1996.  Three CH-135 from RCAF 450 Squadron provided training and tactical support to the RCMP's Special Emergency Response Team, prior to that unit's dissolution in 1993.  RCMP Emergency Response Teams now train and deploy with the police force's own helicopters.  However, RCMP helicopter pilots are generally recruited from commercial sources and given the rank of Special Constable upon induction into the Air Service.  It is believed that they do not have the same proficiency or skills as military-trained helicopter pilots, particularly those working with special forces.  It generally takes 5 years of intense training to achieve that such experience and skills.

RCMP job description on the Jobs Canada website:

Fixed Wing and Rotary Wing Pilot (LES-PT-01) (cfp-psc.gc.ca)



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