On 26 September, the Austrian interior ministry signed a purchase agreement for eight Eurocopter EC135 P2i light twin-engine helicopters for police operations. Four of the machines are scheduled to be delivered in March 2008, followed by two each in March and May 2009 respectively.
Designed as light multi-purpose helicopters, the first four EC135s will be operational in time for the 2008 European Football Championship, when they will be able to demonstrate their capabilities. The four EC135s slated for delivery in 2009 will additionally be equipped with forward-looking infrared (FLIR) cameras and searchlights. All eight helicopters have roping devices, are qualified for IFR flights, and are fitted with glass cockpits compatible with the use of night-vision goggles.
The agreement also includes a power-by-the-hour service for a period of ten years, as well as technical support by Eurocopter for the Austrian police fleet while the EC135 will be phased in at the federal interior ministry as well as during the European Football Championship.
Source: Austrian Ministry of Interior Orders Eight Eurocopter EC135s for its Police Force
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