Raven Choppers joins PNP fleet

February 11, 2010

MANILA,-– Three brand new night-flying helicopters were added to the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) fleet of rotary-wing aircraft to provide air support during anti-criminality and internal security operations in the country.

PNP chief Director General Jesus Verzosa formally unveiled the three brand new Robinson R44 Raven II Police Helicopters worth P104.9 million acquired by the PNP as part of its 2008 Capability Enhancement Program.

The new police helicopters have night-flying capability, increasing the effectiveness of these aircraft in night time police operations. Other standard equipment include a 500-watt xenon search light and infrared imaging system, monitor, and dual audio controller for police radios.

“The tactical capability of these aircraft translates to greater operational advantage in our anti-criminality, public safety and law enforcement missions,” Verzosa said.

Police Director Leocadio Santiago, chief of the PNP’s elite Special Action Force (SAF), explained that the new police choppers provide effective strategic command and control functions to coordinate ground units in police operations, particularly during mobile pursuit situations.

At the same time, Santiago said the police choppers can also provide tactical support for fire suppression, aerial reconnaissance, supply airlift for ground troops in field operations, troop insertion and medical evacuation.

The Raven Police Helicopter is capable of flying for three hours on a standard fuel load at a cruising speed of 130 mph and range of 300 miles.

The three new police choppers are assigned to the Air Unit of the PNP-SAF along with other aircraft in its fleet.

The infrared imaging system allow the chopper pilots and crew the advantage of night-flying capability, thus, further enhancing the operational effectiveness of these aircraft that are otherwise limited to daytime flying only.

“These new police choppers will see action in our election security campaign against Partisan Armed Groups, threat groups and election law violators,” Verzosa said.

The PNP has been developing the air-ground capability of its tactical units for rapid deployment operations against threat groups, terrorists and criminal elements.

This capacity-building initiative is a strategic approach to meet operational requirements for rapid response in the course of internal security operations and response to threat situations that may arise particularly in the forthcoming election period for the May 2010 national elections, the chief PNP said.

SAF and other tactical units from the Regional and Provincial Mobile Groups, and National Operational Support Units had been undergoing specialized training on air-ground operations and rapid deployment by heliborne repelling, fast rope and tactical drop insertion.

Santiago further explained this air-ground rapid deployment capability will enable police tactical units to conduct surgical strikes on ground targets such as fortified enemy encampments, and bases of operation.

”The same rapid deployment capability will also enable tactical units to be inserted on the ground as troop reinforcement in any scene of encounter or government installations that are under attack,” Santiago said. (PNA) FFC/MM

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