Joined: Sep 16, 2006 Posts: 736 Location: North England
Posted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:59 am Post subject: Helibras develops ballistic armour for police helicopters
Helibras develops ballistic armour for police helicopters
April 04, 2011
Helibras, Eurocopter's majority-owned subsidiary in Brazil, has developed a ballistic protection system for the AS350 Esquilo helicopter used by the country's parapublic agencies.
The company said the system enhances the aircraft's ability to work in hostile environments against light weapons with calibres of 7.62mm and 5.56mm.
The installation consists of putting removable plates of armour into strategic points on the aircraft. This installation can be customised depending on operational need and the risk of the mission. The measures can range from an armoured cabin floor to a self-sealing fuel tank.
The company said in a statement that the system has been developed based on operational experience of Squirrel helicopters used by police forces around the world.
The system costs less than 10% of the cost of the aircraft and the company said the customer can choose to install all parts or only some of them, according to the degree of threat expected in the mission.
The components of the armour plates are produced with high-performance materials that offer ballistic properties. They were developed in conjunction with INBRA-Aerospace, a Brazilian company specialising in aeronautical shields and certified to supply the armed forces and civilian police and military.
Walter dos Santos Filho, head of the projects division at Helibras, said: 'The installation of the armour plate is fully modular and removable.'
Santos Filho also pointed out the ballistic protection advantages offered by composite rotor blades.
'The rotor blades of our aircraft are produced using a composite material which is superior to the ballistic performance of metal blades,' he said.
Melisa de Bruyn, manufacturing director at INBRA-Aerospace said: 'The solution developed specifically for this aircraft is resistant to several shots, combining protection and low weight and low profile design.'
Brazil is no stranger to hostile fire on its helicopters. In October 2009, drug traffickers shot down a helicopter as it observed a gun battle between rival gangs. The pilot was hit in the leg, causing him to lose control and crash. Two officers died, while the pilot and three other policemen escaped after the aircraft hit the ground on a football field and burst into flames.
In Brazil, about 100 AS350 Squirrel are operated by military and civilian police and fire departments in several states, working in patrol missions, including the medevac, fire fighting and search and rescue operations, as well providing vital support to police ground units in hostile environments.
Tony Osborne, London _________________ R22 2.6 h/r wanting more, a hell of a lot more
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