Lithuanian Armed Forces has received first of the three search and rescue (SAR) Airbus Helicopters' priorly Eurocopter) Dauphins to replace Russian made helicopters on Tuesday.
The second and third helicopters will be delivered by the end of this year.
“We are retiring dated Russian-manufactured helicopters and continue to fit up our armed forces with western equipment. It matters to us that our pilots will fly more up-to-date, new and more efficient aircraft, Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas said.
The first helicopter will also fulfill Lithuania’s commitment to the nations completing the NATO Baltic Air Policing Mission by ensuring search and rescue function.
As per the agreement, the Lithuanian Armed Forces is committed to use no less than 75 flight hours for environmental observation and control annually. The AS365 Dauphin will complete environmental monitoring and control from the air tasks and search and rescue missions: search for people lost at sea, extinguish fires, transport patients or organs for transplantation, support state and municipal institutions in emergencies.
The Lithuanian Armed Forces signed the procurement contract with Eurocopter on three Eurocopter AS365N3+ Dauphins in October 2013. The total value of the contract t amounts to roughly EUR 52 m. The price includes purchasing price of the three helicopters, all related equipment, training of pilots and maintenance personnel, and three-year after-sales services.