The air force will put three search-and-rescue helicopters purchased from Europe into service next month, in a move to beef up its disaster relief capabilities, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday.
The EC-225 helicopters, which Eurocopter delivered in November last year, are the first European-made helicopters to be incorporated into the air force’s rescue squadron. Taiwan placed its order for three of them at a cost of US$110 million.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is expected to host the commissioning ceremony in Taipei, the military said.
The rescue squadron currently operates S-70C choppers, the air force said. Compared with S-70Cs, which incorporate a four-blade rotor, the all-weather EC-225 helicopters have a five-blade main rotor that can reduce vibration levels and increase the choppers’ capacity to up to 24 passengers.
The EC-225s are also equipped with de-icing systems, life rafts and automatic flight control.