JDF Acquires Two Helicopters

The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) today (March 9) commissioned into service two new helicopters, which will be used to assist the JDF in its operational tasks.
The helicopters, which are among four being acquired for the Air Wing, were purchased at a cost of US$14.1 million, with financing provided through the Bank of Nova Scotia.
Minister of National Security, Dr. Peter Phillips, who was speaking at the commissioning ceremony held at Up Park Camp, said that the Bell 407 light utility helicopters were “reliable, proven superior aircrafts that (are) ideally suited to the operational requirements of the JDF Air Wing”.
The helicopters, he added, were used extensively in law enforcement, emergency medical services, and VIP transportation around the world, all tasks that the JDF Air Wing would be called upon to perform.
He informed that Cabinet has approved the sale of the existing four Eurocopter choppers, which the new Bell helicopters will replace.
Meanwhile, a JDF helicopter departed the island today for the Eastern Caribbean for security operations connected with CWC. “That helicopter will be a part of Jamaica’s joint task force comprising one offshore patrol vessel, 187 JDF troops and 54 Jamaica Constabulary Force officers deployed to the northern sector in the Eastern Caribbean” informed Dr. Peter Phillips.
Giving an update on the Jamaica Military Aviation School (JMAS), the National Security Minister announced that four students were scheduled to commence pilot training on July 2.
The training, he said, would commence “immediately after the Canadian Air Force visits and validates the programme”.
“Canada has assured us that the validation process will take place on an annual basis thus ensuring that our trainees graduate at world class standards,” said Dr. Phillips.
Three of the students are from Jamaica and one from Belize, he informed, “signifying the regional and potentially international nature of the school. Already the JMAS is generating enquiries from the region for air crew training.”
The JMAS was officially opened on December 7, 2006 by the Minister, and was created as a result of a bilateral agreement between the Canadian and Jamaican governments.

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