Uganda police has acquired two more helicopters and a fixed wing aircraft from Italy. The purchase of the two engine helicopters at the tune of Shs 88 billion ($23.9 million) began in 2015 while that of the fixed wing aircraft began in 2017.
The fixed wing aircraft cost Shs 30.3 billion ($8.2 million). The two helicopters including the GrandNew and a W-3A Sokół as well as the fixed wing aircraft are being assembled by PZL-Świdnik, an AgustaWestland company in Italy.
According to the police policy statement, government has so far released Shs 86 billion of the required Shs 110.3 billion for the aircraft deal leaving a balance of Shs 24 billion. The aircrafts will be used for law enforcement, surveillance, rescue missions and transporting police bosses as well as other senior government officials.
Police spokesperson, Emiliam Kayima declined to comment on the procurement, saying it was classified. “These are classified equipment whose details we shall not divulge. However, they will go a long way in adding value in as far as ensuring effective policing is concerned. They will greatly improve our operations as we deliver on our cardinal, constitutional mandate,” Kayima said.
The procurement of the two helicopters brings to five the number of helicopters in the police air force wing. Police bought two helicopters in 2015 from PZL-Swidnik, which trained eight of police pilots as well as 10 officers on how to repair and maintain the aircrafts.
According to the website of PZL-Świdnik, the W-3A Sokol is an intermediate twin engine helicopter, which is “highly effective, rugged and reliable, capable of operating in all types of climates and environmental conditions.
They are equipped with a cargo hook, rescue hoist, search light, loudspeaker system, rappelling kit, infrared and surveillance cameras and provisions for firefighting equipment and an emergency flotation system.
The W-3A Sokol’s maximum take-off weight is 6,400kg and is capable of carrying up to 14 people, as well as cargo. It can be used in law enforcement, passenger transport, troop transport, air ambulance, search, rescue and firefighting. On the other hand, the GrandNew was chosen for its performance and advanced technology.