Bell heavy-lift helicopter to arrive Saturday

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The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) is set to welcome the Bell 412-EPi heavy-lift aircraft to its fleet on Saturday.

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira made the disclosure during Tuesday’s sitting of the Committee of Supply to consider the current and capital expenditure for the army.

The chopper was funded through last year’s supplementary budget whereby $414.2 million was approved not only for its purchase, but to also for maintenance works on GDF’s King Air 350 Beechcraft.

Following the acquisition of the aircraft, it is expected to enhance the nation’s maritime surveillance and patrol, search and rescue, as well as to fight against narco-trafficking.

The 2020 budget also saw provisions to train four engineers within the force on the Beechcraft, while both pilot and engineer training will be provided for the Bell helicopter.

At that time, Senior Minister with responsibility for Finance within the Office of the President, Dr. Ashni Singh told the National Assembly that the training was targeted.

“Both engineering and pilot training are specific to aircraft type and so what we are providing here is specific training to the aircraft type… This is not training as is done by the Public Service Ministry, this is specific training for the aircraft type.”

Budget 2021 also provides for the construction of a passenger lounge for the GDF’s Air Corps base at Timehri. Other acquisitions will include new boats, outboard engines and vehicles to enhance the capacity of the Coast Guard and army.