Portugal is "thinking" about buy two more "Koala” helicopters

in News · 21-06-2020 12:00:00 · 2 Comments

The Defense Minister revealed that the Air Force has already received four of the five new AW119MK II helicopters - “Koala” and that Portugal is “thinking” to buy “two more” to integrate in Fire fighting.

"We have already received four of the five 'Koala' that were acquired" for the Portuguese Air Force (FAP), said the Minister of National Defence, João Gomes Cravinho, adding that "the fifth will arrive this summer, within a month" or "month and a half”.

According to the official, who spoke to journalists at Beja Air Base No. 11 (BA11), with the arrival of the last AW119MK II - “Koala”, the acquisition made by the Portuguese State will be complete, but Portugal still has the “option to purchase two more” of these helicopters.

And it is this purchase option that the Government is “thinking to exercise” to integrate in the Special Fire Fighting Device, he revealed.

“There is a paradigm shift and, as of 2023, the Portuguese State will operate, essentially, with its own means and, therefore, we are thinking that the two 'Koala' that are part of the option could also be acquired, to integrate this capacity new state", he stressed.

The Minister of National Defence travelled on 16 June to BA11 where he flew aboard the helicopter Alouette III (ALIII), to mark the end of service of this aircraft, after 57 years of operation in the Portuguese Air Force (FAP).

João Gomes Cravinho considered that the ALIII, whose first helicopter made its debut flight in the colonial war, on 18 June, 1963, in Luanda, “made history”.

“They were bought to carry out the colonial war, it was what happened during those years, between 1963 and 1974” and, since then and until today, “they accomplished countless civilian and military missions, but mainly civilians. It was countless lives that were saved by these ALIII”, he highlighted.

The helicopters, of Squadron 552, “also served, over four decades, for aerial coordination of firefighting”, the minister also indicated, as an example.

The ALIII “marked the FAP, marked the life of the Portuguese”, even of many who, without being aware of the aircraft, “benefited from the work done by generations and generations of military personnel who operated these extraordinary machines”.

“The latter of the ALIII, still capable of flying, ends tomorrow [Wednesday, 17 June] its useful life and is a historic moment. After 57 years of service with the FAP, "these helicopters" are now being removed to make way for a new generation, the 'Koala', which "have already started to operate", he stressed.

Asked if the ceremony that symbolically marked the end of the ALIII's service - since it is the last flight only on Wednesday - did not deserve the presence of the military who, for decades, piloted or worked on these helicopters, the governor alluded to the covid-19 pandemic.

"They are physically absent, but they are in our thinking," said João Gomes Cravinho, justifying that the pandemic requires "changes" to what "are the usual ceremonies".

The farewell was made “with a mixed feeling of longing, but also of thanks and great satisfaction” for the “significant investment of Portugal” in these helicopters, but it paid off: “When investments are well made, the return is very big and that return was infinitely higher than the investment”.


Comments:

What "defense"? They're for fighting fires and civilian rescues! Well worth it....as seen from fires already taking place!

By William from Other on 22-06-2020 11:55

So the EU has to pay 80+ million to get the Lisbon subway updated, but Portugal has enough money for two new helicopters?? For "defense" purposes?!

By Fred Doe from Algarve on 21-06-2020 07:57
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