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 Air Support Unit was first formed in 1992 and is granted a Police Air Operators Certificate by the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

The unit has three helicopters, a Eurocopter EC135, delivered in 2005 and two Eurocopter EC145’s, which were put into service in July 2010 and August 2013.

The Eurocopter EC145’s are the larger, more versatile version of the EC135. These twin-engine aircraft can carry up to 9 people, including crew, and has space to stretcher casualties in rescue situations.

The EC145’s, call signs “Police 45 and Police 46” are the most modern police helicopter operating in the UK. They have state-of-the-art camera and computer equipment with an air speed of 150mph. They are deployed alongside the existing PSNI helicopter call sign “Police 44”, which is now eleven years old. 

The Crime Operations Department manages the Air Support Unit and the deployment of the aircrafts for Districts and specialist operations. Working with all our PSNI colleagues, we deploy daily to meet their needs to keep people safe within our communities. In addition to this, the Air Support Unit works regularly in partnership with the Coastguard, Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, Northern Ireland Fire Service and other volunteer search and rescue organisations.