Austria’s minister of the interior, Gunther Platter, inaugurated the first three of the eight new EC135 helicopters destined for the country’s air police at the flight operations base in Innsbruck on 5 May. Eurocopter will deliver four of the new helicopters in time for the UEFA European Football Championship, which is being hosted by Austria and Switzerland. This enables the air police to patrol the event with state-of-the-art helicopters. Later in May, the new EC135s will also be publicly presented in Salzburg, Vienna and Klagenfurt – each of which is an important venue for Euro 2008.
The contract for the purchase of eight Eurocopter EC135 P2i twin-engine light helicopters was signed by the Austrian ministry of the interior on 26 September 2007. It was stipulated from the outset that four of these aircraft, configured as light multipurpose helicopters, should be ready for deployment before the beginning of Euro 2008 to ensure optimum security at this mass event, which is attended by visitors from all over the world.
Two of the remaining four EC135s will be delivered in March and two in May 2009. The four EC135s scheduled for delivery in 2009 will additionally be equipped with FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) cameras and searchlights. All the aircraft have a rescue winch, are certified for IFR (instrument flight rules), and are fitted with glass cockpits suitable for the use of night vision goggles.