All members of Airbus’ light rotorcraft family are deployed in parapublic missions, accounting for an important percentage of the worldwide fleet.
Members of the single- and twin-engine Ecureuil product line, such as the H125 and H130, are helicopters of choice for many operators. Benefits include their mission versatility, low sound levels, and lift capability to carry mission equipment, observers, light armament, and sling loads.
The twin-engine H135 and H145 are widely used by police forces and other agencies for their large, spacious cabins, wide side doors and rear clamshell doors for loading/unloading, and high-set main and tail rotors for safety during ground operations.
Dauphin twin-engine helicopters such as the AS365 N3+ and H155 are workhorses for a diverse range of duties, from border patrol and the deployment of special forces to firefighting and search and rescue missions. Their modern glass cockpits incorporate digital avionics and a 4-axis autopilot, allowing pilots to concentrate on the mission.
The H175 is a highly capable platform for search and rescue missions and parapublic applications. The large cabin is enhanced by very low vibration levels and a smooth ride – even at high speeds.
Airbus’ Super Puma family, which includes the H225, combine excellent payload lift and range capabilities for highly demanding missions with law enforcement agencies and fire departments.
The extremely large cabin, coupled with the helicopters’ high cruise speed and smooth ride, make Super Pumas the perfect choice for missions requiring transport of tactical personnel or long-range search missions. They can carry full SWAT teams with rappelling/fast rope deployment capabilities, and can be equipped with external hoists and search & weather radar, among other mission equipment.
Search and rescue
Perhaps the most iconic rotorcraft in search and rescue (SAR) is the U.S. Coast Guard HH-65C Dauphin. With some 100 of these aircraft in service, the HH-65C is used by the Coast Guard along the country’s Pacific and Atlantic coasts, in the Gulf of Mexico and the Hawaiian Islands.
Airbus enhancements to the Dauphin have prepared it for new missions such as armed interdiction of surface vessels involved in smuggling, as well as security and intercept air patrols over the United States capital, Washington, D.C.
The Finnish Border Guard has flown AS332 L1 Super Pumas (now known as the H215 family) for more than a quarter century for maritime search and rescue missions.
Also operating Airbus rotorcraft are the Spanish Maritime Safety Agency (SASEMAR), with an H225 for maritime SAR and pollution control missions; Switzerland’s Rega operating the EC145; and the offshore oil and gas industry flying the Super Puma on rescue missions.