AUSTIN — The Texas Game Warden’s today unveiled its new Airbus AS350B3e helicopter that will enhance the department’s statewide law enforcement apparatus and assist with its search and rescue and disaster response efforts.
The aircraft is outfitted with the latest law enforcement technology and emergency response equipment including a rescue hoist, thermal imager, searchlight, public address system, satellite communication and night vision. Funding for the new aircraft, which was approximately $5 million, was made possible through legislative appropriation during the 83rd Texas Legislative session.
“This helicopter is going to be a tremendous asset and force multiplier for the Texas Game Wardens,” said Col. Craig Hunter, TPWD Law Enforcement Director. “We will not only be able to more efficiently move personnel and equipment across the state, but with the addition of the new hoist system, we will be able to better leverage our marine and ground assets to enhance our search and rescue capabilities during times of disaster.”
Among the new aircrafts advantages are its ability to carry additional game wardens including its K9 teams during remote search and rescue missions or other specially trained personnel for specific assignments. In addition to the new helicopter, the department also has a fixed wing 2009 Turbo Cessna Model 206 aircraft.