`Copters needed for crisis situations in India`

Helicopter operations needed to maintain law and order and emergency medical services in India as the demand to deal with grave situations is rising.

Last Updated: Nov 06, 2011, 14:03 PM IST

New Delhi: Political will and regulations are
urgently required to launch helicopter operations to maintain
law and order and emergency medical services in India as the
demand to deal with these situations was rising, a senior
chopper firm executive has said.

"A strong political will is needed to consider
heli-operations in India. The first aspect is to finalise the
principles and then make regulations and guidelines. All this
is required to be undertaken urgently," Eurocopter`s Director
(Market Development) Michael Rudolph said here.

To questions on funding for acquisition of helicopters
for law and order or medical services (HEMS), he said while
the state would have to invest on equipping the law and order
machinery better, HEMS operations could be funded by
non-profit organisations, charities or such foundations.

Asked about problems relating to government funding, he
said, "In the European Union, a mere 0.4 per cent of the
annual health budget is spent on helicopter ambulance
services. So it is not a very big deal".

In this context, he referred to Eurocopter operations in
several countries including the US, the UK, Brazil, France and
Germany and said, "Our helicopters provide services ranging
from traditional air support to multi-role intelligence and
police air operations."

He said a major role of these choppers, functioning with
the police and security agencies, was on prevention,
intelligence gathering, detection, reduction of risks and
intervention.

These operations were carried out by airborne observation
and surveillance, C3 (command, control and communication),
troop deployment and commando intervention when required.

Besides, helicopters were also being used for a variety
of activities ranging from traffic control, firefighting,
disaster search and rescue to patrolling of harbours, borders
and coastal surveillance, prevention or control of oil spills,
pipeline monitoring, Rudolph said.

In India, he said Eurocopter choppers were flying with
various private and state-run companies. They have also
started operating with oil firms and paramilitary forces now.

"Eurocopter helicopters are designed to respond to these
emerging challenges and we have a wide-range of products which
are the best to accomplish highly complex missions. Our
solutions pave the way for launching airborne law enforcement
operations in India," he said.

Rudolph said the equipment on board of helicopters with
the US police include items like thermal imagers,
searchlights, moving map systems, night vision goggle and
platforms for tactical team transport and deployment.

In some cases, they also have a six gigahertz video
downlink system that allows the helicopter to broadcast images
to a central receive site, as well as portable handheld units.

"With a modern product line, Eurocopter has responded to
the increasing security requirements around the world by
adapting helicopter family very specifically to meet the
demands of homeland security and rescue operations," he said,
adding, this was the reason why Eurocopter had cornered over
half the share of public services market like police, border
patrol and coast guard.

"Thus with its expertise and product portfolio,
Eurocopter can offer solutions that will pave the way for
launching helicopters in airborne law enforcement role in
India," Rudolph said.

PTI