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In Africa


As local economies continue to develop in Africa, enormous security needs have emerged in terms of law enforcement, public safety, and public services in general. The potential helicopter market is enormous as well, as illustrated by the three Airbus Helicopters operators.



In countries where peace has returned and law and order restored, public agencies are now per forming security and surveillance missions once reserved for the military, and the helicopter market for police missions has been growing steadily over the past five years.

One operator in particular has become the reference in this area, based on its many years of experience: the South African Police Service, which operates 29 Airbus Helicopters rotorcraft. Its fleet of Ecureuil, BO105 and BK117 helicopters perform a wide variety of missions out of nine bases located both in urban areas and in the bush: crime fighting, search and rescue, the war on poachers and illicit cultivation, and beach and highway patrols are but a few.

Each helicopter performs 150 flight hours per year to serve the country’s 60 million inhabitants.


In Gabon, three AS332 L/L1 Super Pumas are used exclusively to transport the country’s president and his guests. The fleet also includes an SA330 L Puma and two AS342 L Gazelles (soon to be replaced by two EC635s, the military version of the EC135), used respectively for logistics and escort missions. This setup is exemplary for these types of operations in subequatorial Africa. The Republican Guard is just one part of the government fleet, which includes approximately twenty other Airbus Helicopters rotorcraft that mainly serve the Army Air Corps and the National Police Force. Many of the helicopters have reached a venerable age, which is why Gabon kicked off a fleet renewal program two years ago to introduce next-generation EC120s and EC135s.


The Moroccan Royal Gendarmerie, which celebrated 50 years of collaboration with Airbus Helicopters in April 2012, operates a grand total of 31 helicopters from the company’s product range. Such a varied fleet provides the gendarmerie with multiple operational capabilities to serve the Moroccan people.

Search and rescue and air ambulance missions (with a specially- equipped EC135) are prime examples, but the gendarmerie also fights fires and participates in the war on crime and trafficking (on both sea and land). Two Super Pumas (an AS332 and EC225) are used specifically to transport the King of Morocco and his guests.

Similar to those in South Africa, the most modern helicopters operated by the gendarmerie log about 150 flight hours per year in their missions to serve the country’s 32 million inhabitants.