Japan National Police Agency (JNPA) has ordered 5 AgustaWestland AW109 Power law enforcement helicopters, with a support contract going to Kanematsu Corp. This is the 4th consecutive year JNPA has ordered AW109s from AgustaWestland as part of a program to modernize its helicopter fleet. When the current order is complete, JNPA will have 21 of the type.

´╗┐Bell Helicopter has achieved JAR-OPS 3 status for the 412EP. Bell says the 412EP is the first legacy helicopter to complete the EASA Joint Operation Evaluation Board catch-up process to achieve JAR-OPS 3 compliance, which includes meeting requirements for safety equipment, flight procedures and crew and support staff training. This will permit European 412EP operators to meet JAR-OPS standards after adding a kit to their aircraft and demonstrating compliance with operating and training requirements. Bell offers training classes to assist 412EP operators in meeting JAR-OPS 3 regulations.

MD Helicopter has announced the sale of 8 MD500Es to the Houston TX police department for delivery by the end of 2Q09. When deliveries are complete, Houston PD's MD500E fleet will number 13, allowing it to maintain 2 helicopters in flight up to 21 hours a day. Houston PD has operated helicopters since 1970. Its current MD 500 fleet flies more than 6000 hrs per year.

AgustaWestland (AW) has accepted the 200th AW139 airframe built by PZL-Swidnik in Poland. Completed airframes are shipped to AW factories in Philadelphia PA and Vergiate, Italy-both AW139 final assembly sites. PZL-Swidnik has built more than 800 helicopter airframes for AW since 1996. The Polish company currently fabricates and assembles airframes for AW119 Ke, AW109 Power, AW109 LUH and Grand as well as AW139s.

Poland's Ministry of Health has ordered 23 Eurocopter EC135s for delivery between 2009 and 2010. They will be used for Poland's nationwide emergency medical service network and will replace a fleet of aging Mil Mi2s, allowing Poland's air rescue system to become fully compliant with JAR-OPS 3 safety and operational standards. Eurocopter will also deliver an EC135 simulator as part of the contract.

Sikorsky Aerospace Services Division has opened a regional spare parts warehouse in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The facility will operate in partnership with DHL to stock, receive and ship spare parts to support commercial operators of Sikorsky S61s, S76s and S92s in southeast Asia. It will also stock parts to support fixed-wing aircraft owned and operated by customers of Derco Aerospace, the unit of Sikorsky Aerospace Services which supports military aircraft. Sikorsky says the move reflects its growing presence and commercial customer base in Southeast Asia.

Bell Helicopter gave the EMS community a look at the company's latest emergency medical helicopter, the 429, at AIRMED 2008, the international aeromedical convention in Prague, Czech Republic. Bell says it solicited significant air medical customer input in designing the 429, and was pleased with customer response at the show. Popular features include side or optional rear patient loading and a large open cabin. The 429 has accumulated about 900 flight test hours, and is scheduled for certification in either 4Q08 or 1Q09.

Finland's Border Guard has ordered 3 AgustaWestland AW119 Ke single-turbine helicopters for delivery in 2010. The order also contains an option for 1 additional AW119 Ke, and includes a package for dedicated training and support. The AW119s will be used in border patrol, special operations, firefighting and search-and-rescue, and are part of the Border Guard's fleet modernization and enhancement program. AgustaWestland says the sale marks the AW119 Ke's introduction into the European law enforcement and homeland security market. The new helicopters are slated to be based at HEL (Vantaa, Helsinki, Finland) and RVN (Rovaniemi, Finland) and will patrol the full length of Finland's border with Russia.

Helo Manifest

Turbomeca has announced senior management changes. Philippe Couteaux (L) has been named VP and general mgr, airframers, Didier Desnoyer (C) is now VP and general mgr, operators, and Eric Dalbies (R) is VP chairman's office. Couteaux held senior positions with Snecma before joining Turbomeca in 2006. Desnoyer has been with Turbomeca since 1992, last serving as VP operator support. In addition, Laurent Delange is VP quality, Philip Larrauri is VP assembly and repair operations, Serge Maille is VP customer support and sales, and Pierre-Yves Morvan is VP supply chain, purchasing and information systems.