State-of-the-art helicopters for NDF

The Namibian Defence Force received three Allouette helicopters which will be used for defending the country and assisting in national emergency relief duties.

At the commission of the helicopters, the Minister of Defence, Major General Charles Namoloh, stressed that these helicopters cost the Government a fortune and therefore no substandard service delivery is expected.

The Chetak and Cheetah helicopters (no H-703, H-705, H-707) were manufactured by Hindustan Aernautics Limited, an Indian company with an impressive record of accomplishment since its formation in 1964.

Hindustan Aernautics Limited had signed a contract with the Namibian Defense Ministry in April 2009 to supply one Cheetah and two Chetak copters with associated equipment under a USD10 million contract.

According to the Air Force Commander, Brigadier-General Martin Pinehas, a strategic review exercise in 2008 revealed that the Air Force needs to equip itself with more helicopters and a decision was taken to purchase new helicopters.

“Based on our vast experience on operating the Allouette helicopters it was thought appropriate and cost effective to purchase these machines from India,” said Pinehas.

The handing over of these military helicopters follows a week after other helicopters were also handed over and commissioned to the Namibian Air Force in Gobabis.

These are acts of fulfilment for the Ministry of its responsibility to equip the Namibian Air Force in particular the Namibian Defence Force with adequate capability for national defence and emergency relief roles, said the Minister.

He reminded the Namibian Air Force that increased capability entails increased responsibility.
“You should always keep in mind that as the Air Force capability increases so should your responsibility in terms of command and control.”

He stressed that both the Ministry and the nation now expects more from the Air Force and for them to deliver national relief and respond to national emergency relief duties effectively.

“You can only respond effectively to the needs of national defence and emergency relief if you strife to maintain these military assets in good shape and make sure that those who will operate them have the necessary competencies,” he noted.

According to Pinehas, the three military helicopters will be operated by 151 squadron which falls under 15 Wing. He noted that this squadron has an impressive history of bravery, dedication and commitment by both the early pioneers and current breed of pilots and technicians.

Author: 
WINDHOEK - ELLANIE SMIT
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