Uganda Police Force has acquired two more helicopters and a fixed wing aircraft from Italy.
The purchase of the two engine helicopters at the tune of Shillings 88 billion (USD 23.9M) began in 2015 while that of the fixed wing aircraft began in 2017.
The fixed wing aircraft cost Shillings 30.3 billion (USD8.2M). The two helicopters including the GrandNew and a W-3A Sokół as well as the fixed wing aircraft are being assembled by PZL-Świdnik, an AgustaWestland company in Italy.
According to the police policy statement, government has so far released Shillings 86 billion of the required Shillings 110.3 billion for the aircraft deal leaving a balance of Shillings 24 billion. The aircrafts will be used for law enforcement, surveillance, rescue missions and transporting police bosses as well as other senior government officials.
Police spokesperson, Emiliam Kayima declined to comment on the procurement, saying it was classified. “These are classified equipment whose details we shall not divulge. However, they will go a long way in adding value in as far as ensuring effective policing is concerned.
They will greatly improve our operations as we deliver on our cardinal, constitutional mandate,” Kayima said. The procurement of the two helicopters brings to five the number of helicopters in the police air force wing.
Police bought two helicopters in 2015 from PZL-Swidnik, which trained eight of police pilots as well as 10 officers on how to repair and maintain the aircrafts. According to the website of PZL-Świdnik, the W-3A Sokol is an intermediate twin engine helicopter, which is “highly effective, rugged and reliable, capable of operating in all types of climates and environmental conditions.
They are equipped with a cargo hook, rescue hoist, search light, loudspeaker system, rappelling kit, FLIR, surveillance cameras and provisions for firefighting equipment and an emergency flotation system.
The W-3A Sokol’s maximum take-off weight is 6,400 kilogrammes and is capable of carrying up to 14 people, as well as cargo. It can be used in law enforcement, passenger transport, troop transport, air ambulance, search, rescue and firefighting. On the other hand, the GrandNew was chosen for its performance and advanced technology.
According to Leonardo Company, “the GrandNew is the premium, latest-generation light twin helicopter, evolved from the globally successful Grand platform, enhanced with the latest global navigation satellite system for all weather operations.”