Three new high-tech helicopters that cost $50 million have joined the NSW Police fleet.
The three Bell 429 helicopters - PolAir 1, 3 and 4 - were launched at a commissioning ceremony in Sydney on Tuesday and will be used for patrols, search and rescue, surveillance, and specialist operations across NSW.
Speaking at the ceremony, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said "these dollars and investments in the NSW Police Force are incredibly important".
"So whether it's the 600 search and rescues that occur and the missing people that will be found as a result of this investment is incredibly important," Mr Perrottet said.
"Behind those dollars is an investment in important technology that's going to keep communities safe."
The helicopters were funded by the $50million Future Light Helicopter Program, which afforded a number of high-tech upgrades.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said each helicopter had been purpose-built to policing specifications.
"The Bell 429 helicopters have been specifically designed and fitted with the best technology available to carry out search and rescue operations, conduct aerial patrols and surveillance operations," Commissioner Fuller said.
"Each one has been customised with the most sophisticated equipment, including a FLIR camera system, advanced mapping systems, tactical radio and rescue hoist winch.
"We know that these aviation resources are a vital component to our policing responses, and I am confident that PolAir 1, 3 and 4 will play a critical role in our future operations."
The choppers will replace the ageing fleet of helicopters, including AS350 single-engine Squirrel, AS355 twin-engine Squirrel (both operational since the 90s), as well as a twin-engine EC135 (operational since 2012).
Aviation Commander Superintendent Brad Monk said the Bell 429s are a welcomed boost to policing across the state.
"These new choppers take us forward and put us at the forefront of airborne law enforcement," Supt Monk said.
"The upgraded technology means we can better support Police Area Commands and Police Districts in fighting crime from the air, and making the community safer.
"By now using only two types of helicopters (the Bell 429 and Bell 412), we've standardised the fleet making it more cost-efficient to operate and easier to maintain."
The Bell 429 aircraft were assembled in Canada in 2020, before being delivered to the Command's airbase in Bankstown this year.
The aircraft will be maintained by the command's full-time crew of engineers at the airbase.
The NSW Police fleet services the state across an area of approximately 800,000 square kilometres, in major land and sea operations, emergency rescues, major incident response, surveillance and reconnaissance, tactical operations, and counter terrorism and organised crime operations/investigations.