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#496410 - 10/04/14 05:25 AM PM Barrow Says G.O.B. Will Purchase a Helicopter  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 52,625
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

The threat to our armed forces this morning has highlighted a deficiency in our military capacity which is certainly no secret. There is need for a helicopter to assist in operations, not the least of which is maintaining our territorial integrity. To drive the point home, this morning it took reinforcements as much as five hours to answer the call for help from Camp Valentin near the border. In that time, disaster could have struck, and there is absolutely nothing the B.D.F. could have done about it. While talk of procuring at least one of the very expensive aircraft has been bandied about for years, it is apparent that the need has become critical. PM Barrow also spoke about this issue in the house on Thursday.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow “We have been looking into the possibility of getting at least one helicopter. It’s not easy…the last price I heard was eight to ten million dollars, and then there’s the question of the maintenance. We’ve been trying to see if we could partner with the Canadians initially…we’ve spoken to the US but that plea has fallen on deaf ears. I made an appeal to Obama personally when we were at that Central American meeting in Costa Rice some time ago. I think we want to talk to the Taiwanese…I see where they donated a used helicopter to the Guatemalans, and I don’t see why they can’t try to assist us as well. But what I want to say to you and the nation sir is that ultimately we are going to get a helicopter. If we have to pay for it ourselves, I just want to be sure that with respect to maintenance, with respect to servicing, with respect to our ability to handle this new rotary capacity that I am determined that we in fact secure, that we are ready. But it is going to happen.”

Channel 5

#496485 - 10/06/14 02:11 PM Re: PM Barrow Says G.O.B. Will Purchase a Helicopter [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 441
cracked up Offline
cracked up  Offline
Not possible for the GOB/BDF to support a helicopter. At the present, the BDF airwing is without fixed wing acft due to maintenance/parts issues.

#497464 - 10/31/14 04:41 AM Re: PM Barrow Says G.O.B. Will Purchase a Helicopter [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 52,625
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

The Holy Helicopter Cometh

Finally, the Belize Defense Force will have its own helicopter. Since the pullout of the British Military Training unit in 2012, government has been going around cap in hand begging their partners in the US, the UK and Taiwan for assistance in getting a helicopter. But at eight to 12 million US dollars for one helicopter, there have been no takers, so now the Barrow Administration has found a multi-million dollar deal, for not one, but two helicopters - and they announced today that they are taking it. National Security Minister John Saldivar was the first to speak at a press conference this afternoon where it was called a glorious day for Belize:..

Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of National Security
"Our desire for a helicopter is about to become a reality. We were in discussions with the British, the US, the Canadians and the Taiwanese, however, none of these have borne fruit."

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"Now, what we are looking at is a cost of 4.1 million dollars for two refurbished helicopters; a smaller one and a bigger one."

Brig. Gen. David Jones, Commander, Belize Defence Force
"This is welcome news for the Belize Defence Force when it comes to fruition. It has been a vision for us for a few years now and the decision by Cabinet to make this a reality is going to be most welcome to the men and women of the Belize Defence Force. These two helicopters are Bell 206; a small one is the Jet Ranger; a bit larger one is the Long Ranger. These two platforms will assist and aid us in regards to troop transport to the various observations posts along the border, insertion and extraction of our troops because as you are aware our soldiers have to walk for days into the Chiquibul and other parts of our jungle to reach the conservation posts and having the helicopter will be able to insert them in a matter of two hours instead of 3-4 days. We will be able to do search and rescue missions. We will be able to do reconnaissance missions after a hurricane. When in times of natural disasters we will be able to assist NEMO and any other organization which includes the Coast Guard out at sea to do further reconnaissance and troop extraction."

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"I am satisfied that subject to one final effort that will complete our comprehensive review of the air worthiness if you will, of these assets. I am satisfied that subject to that this is in fact a good deal."

Brig. Gen. David Jones, Commander, Belize Defence Force
"We intend to actually go and physically check the platforms. A mechanic and also a pilot, perhaps myself may go on this journey to physically look at these platforms and have the technical experts look at them and verify if it is worth the investment which means we will have physical inspection of the airframe, checks on the engine and check on the serviceability of these two platforms."

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"In the event that the physical inspection doesn't completely satisfy us, we would not proceed with the purchase of the two refurbished helicopters, but in that case government would buy one absolutely brand new helicopter at a cost of 5.68 million dollars."

To repeat what was said at the press conference, the Helicopters that are being looked at are BELL 206's - one a Jetranger and the second a Long Ranger.

They are being sourced from a Bell authorized agent in Miami, Florida. So, who's going to fly these things? General Jones says training is already underway:..

Brig. Gen. David Jones, Commander, Belize Defence Force
"We've already had 3 pilots that have gone through the Jamaica training course. They acquired 100 hours flying these helicopters already, so it's a matter of getting them the extra hours that they need to completely be able to fly it on their own. So within a 3 month period we will be able to have 3 pilots that are fully functional and capable of flying these aircrafts on their own."

Jules Vasquez
"And then you would have to train the mechanics as well."

Brig. Gen. David Jones, Commander, Belize Defence Force
"Yes, the mechanics, the training primarily we would be able to get it from our Caricom friend in Jamaica as well. We have other options in Canada and the US to provide mechanical training for them to repair these helicopters."

According to Jones, the annual cost of maintenance for the two helicopters is 280 thousand Belize dollars. He says two hundred thousand of that will come out of the annual budget that is currently set aside for renting Astrum Helicopters.

Channel 7

#503828 - 04/30/15 05:21 AM Re: PM Barrow Says G.O.B. Will Purchase a Helicopter [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 52,625
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

No Helicopter Any Time Soon?

But one thing Petrocaribe isn’t paying for is the new helicopter that government announced 6 months ago. It still hasn’t appeared – and today we asked the Prime Minister about it – which led to an exchange:…

Channel 7

#506104 - 07/25/15 05:24 AM Re: PM Barrow Says G.O.B. Will Purchase a Helicopter [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 52,625
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

The BDF’s Helicopters Soon Come

3 months ago, we showed you our interview with Prime Minister Dean Barrow in which he revealed that the Belize Government has turned to the Taiwanese Government for the BDF'S first ever helicopters. That's after they realized that the vendor from Miami didn't have a very sound business offer to make.

Well, we asked the Acting Deputy Commander of the BDF today for an update on the Taiwanese connection for the 2 helicopters that Belize is looking to own. He told us that steps have been taken just last week to finalize the arrangements, and those helicopters should arrive in a few months time:

Lt. Col. Luis - Acting Deputy Commander, BDF
"Last week we had a delegation from the Taiwanese Government and the Taiwanese army and they did some reconnaissance and I can assure without going into much detail, come end of this year, we will see some physical evidence of the presence of these helicopters."

"How many?"

Lt. Col. Luis - Acting Deputy Commander, BDF

"And so where would you acquire those from?"

Lt. Col. Luis - Acting Deputy Commander, BDF
"From Taiwan."

The BDF's mobility and timeliness to respond across difficult terrain will be greatly enhanced by helicopter use.

Channel 7

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