Control and Prevention

The helicopter is an essential tool for the Buenos Aires Provincial Police in Argentina. Two additional AS350 B3 Ecureuils will soon be joining the 100% Eurocopter fleet that the province uses for its daily operations.

Last March, the Buenos Aires Provincial Police Force received its first two AS350 B3 Ecureuils, which were acquired by the Argentine Interior Ministry. And the fleet will soon be receiving two additional AS350 B3 Ecureuils.
The agency will then have everything it needs to successfully complete its missions: prevention patrols and surveillance of civil unrest, support operations for officers on the ground, and surveillance of roadways during peak traffic periods.

The province of Buenos Aires is nearly as large as Spain. To monitor and prevent illegal activity over such a vast territory, aerial means for dissuasion and control are a must. It was for these reasons that the local police decided to acquire their first Eurocopter helicopters between 1975 and 1980: six BO105s were purchased over this period, followed by a seventh delivered in 2001.

Over the last six years, the police, directed by the province’s Security Minister León Carlos Arslanian, have logged approximately 20,000 flight hours.
“The first six BO105s received the Super Five retrofit in 1999 from Eurocopter. They were equipped with latest generation equipment: searchlights and infrared thermographic cameras that can be used day and night. Two of the helicopters were converted to an emergency medical configuration to perform emergency work,” explained Commander Juan Carlos Melia, General Director of aerial services and operations for the Security Minister of the province of Buenos Aires.
“Before purchasing the four AS350 B3 Ecureuils, our aeronautics engineers and our most experienced pilots performed an extremely indepth market study. They eventually concluded that the AS350 B3 was the helicopter best suited to our needs. They were especially impressed by its low operating costs, its rapidity, its tremendous maneuverability, and its reduced maintenance costs. What’s more, on the AS350 B3 Ecureuil, we can apply the same work methods and the same standards that had given us satisfaction on the BO105 Super Fives.”

The main operating base of the Buenos Aires Provincial Police is located at the La Plata airport, not far from the Security Ministry. Two other units are based in La Matanza and Mar del Plata. In a new plan to decentralize operations, new bases are scheduled to be opened in Luján and Pergamino, in the center of the province.
“The province of Buenos Aires is very spread out. To insure that flights between the two bases last no longer than 50 minutes, we had to choose the location very carefully,” said Commander Melia.

Belén Morant

© Policia de Buenos Aires
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There were many decisive factors that convinced Argentina’s Ministry of the Interior to purchase the Ecureuil AS350 B3: low operating and maintenance costs; rapidity; and extreme maneuverability.