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Air Support Unit

The Police Service of Northern Ireland’s Air Support Unit assists front line officers throughout Northern Ireland with crime investigations, anti-crime operations, traffic management, search and rescue, public order situations, crime reduction initiatives and tackling terrorism.

The unit has two helicopters, a Eurocopter EC135, purchased in 2004 and a Eurocopter EC145, which was first put into service in July 2010.

The Eurocopter EC145 is a larger, more modern version of the EC135. The twin-engine aircraft can carry up to 10 people, including crew, and has space for two stretcher casualties in rescue situations.

The EC145, call sign “Police 45” is the most modern police helicopter operating in the UK and Europe. It has state-of-the-art camera and computer equipment and an air speed of 150mph. It will be deployed alongside the existing PSNI helicopter call sign “Police 44”, which is five years old.

Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris, Head of Crime Operations Department which manages the Air Support Unit and the deployment of the helicopter for Districts and specialist operations, said: “This will substantially enhance our air support capability to help provide a comprehensive policing service. It will assist in meeting the ever increasing demands on policing in every part of Northern Ireland.

“At a time when public sector purse strings are tightening, I believe this is an important long-term investment in everyone’s safety. It will provide police with new opportunities to increase our effectiveness and minimise risks. We want to build on the outstanding record of its stable mate Police 44 which is the busiest police helicopter in the world”