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Following the signing last December of a contract on the delivery of a new police helicopter specially equipped to protect the southern Schengen border, the police today (19 October 2007) formally took possession of a Eurocopter EC 135 P2+ police helicopter.


The Director of the Uniformed Police Directorate at the General Police Directorate, Danijel Žibret, symbolically handed the keys of the new helicopter to the head of the Police Aviation Unit at Brnik, Vojko Robnik, on the apron outside the Unit's hangar at Brnik Airport.


In the words of Vojko Robnik the new helicopter is "a major acquisition both for the Police Aviation Unit and for the Police as a whole", which "completes the police aviation fleet". He added that helicopters will enable the Slovenian Police to perform effectively all tasks in the sphere of protecting the future external (Schengen) border. As he handed over the keys, Danijel Žibret expressed his satisfaction at the new acquisition, which concludes the equipping of the Slovenian Police for the effective protection of the national border, and wished the officers of the Police Aviation Unit effective and safe use of the new aircraft.


In order to provide surveillance of the national border Slovenia needs at least two modern reconnaissance/patrol helicopters capable of carrying out surveillance day and night. The Police Aviation Unit took delivery of the first "Schengen helicopter", an Agusta A109E, in July 2004 and the second, an Eurocopter EC 135 P2+, on 20 September 2007. This brings the total of police helicopters to six. The helicopters are indispensable in the case of major accidents, natural disasters, searching for missing persons, etc.

The Police Aviation Unit, which this year celebrates its 40th anniversary, offers safe, high-quality and effective support from the air for Slovenian Police units in the protection of life and property and also other ministries and services in the territory of the Republic of Slovenia in their work. The Police Aviation Unit currently employs 20 pilots (including one woman pilot). Four crews take part in the daily provision of urgent medical assistance by helicopter and three in mountain rescue operations. Besides the pilots, the Unit employs 9 technicians who ensure that the helicopters and equipment are always in perfect working order.

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Eurocopter EC 135 P2+

The new helicopter is fitted with modern technology but even before taking delivery of the new aircraft the pilots and technical personnel of the Police Aviation Unit received training in flying and maintaining it.

The costs of the helicopter and of training the pilots were EUR 8.88 million, financed by the EU (the Schengen Facility).

Eurocopter 2

Technical characteristics: built at the Eurocopter factory in Germany, the EC 135 P2+ is a light twin-engine helicopter (powered by two 734 hp Pratt & Whitney PW206B2 engines). The engines drive a rigid four-blade main rotor and a Fenestron-type tail rotor. The fuselage is largely of composite materials. The helicopter has a modern cockpit that enables the crew an excellent view of events on the ground. The helicopter's crew consists of 2 pilots and it can carry 6 passengers; empty weight 1920 kg; maximum takeoff weight 2910 kg; maximum speed 287 km/h; operating ceiling 6100 m (3300 m at max. weight); the quantity of fuel carried is 568 kg and the helicopter can remain aloft for 3 hours.

Eurocopter 3

What features distinguish this helicopter from others? The helicopter's equipment includes a "glass cockpit" (a modern cockpit in which multifunction monitors have taken the place of numerous traditional aircraft instruments); night-vision goggles (the helicopter is fully adapted for the use of night-vision goggles); an SX-16 Night Sun high-powered searchlight; a camera and FLIR system (a high-magnification camera and infrared array enabling long-distance observation and thermal imaging by day and night); a downlink (wireless connection to transmit images from the air -via antenna - to a base on the ground); loudspeakers (megaphone for aerial crowd-control).

Notranjost kokpit

At the press conference following the handover ceremony the Director of the Uniformed Police, Danijel Žibret, the head of the Police Aviation Unit, Vojko Robnik, the Deputy Director of the Uniformed Police Directorate, Marko Gašperlin, and Drago Menegalija from the Public Relations Department introduced journalists to the technical characteristics of the new helicopter and at the same time provided information about the preparations of the Ministry and the Police for joining the Schengen zone.


At the press conference Danijel Žibret explained that as part of preparations for Schengen a range of organisational solutions are in place to enable the police to adapt effectively to the new situation. Tasks that come under the heading of "countervailing measures" aimed above all at preventing cross-border crime and illegal migrations have been implemented throughout the country since 2002, when the Specialised Border Control Unit was set up. In the five years since then, the police have gained an enormous amount of useful experience, which is today being transferred to the first Countervailing Measures Police Station in Murska Sobota. When Slovenia joins the Schengen zone police units of this kind will be set up in six different police directorate areas, mainly in the interior of the country. According to Žibret, the effective implementation of tasks at the national border is also in the interest of the security of the entire territory of Slovenia, since measures on the external border prevent illegal migrations and - and this is particularly important - cross-border crime, which is not limited to the area along the national border. Žibret also emphasised that we in the police are aware that the Schengen project is only a part of our obligations towards citizens. In this connection we are continuing the development of individual methods of work and tactics, reducing administrative work at police units, training police officers for various fields of police work, increasing the role of heads of police districts, developing the use of technology (e.g. automation of road traffic control, modernisation of the vehicle pool of police units inside the country), "all so that we can continue to provide citizens with security services at a high level."

More about Schengen readiness 

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