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A fleet of replacement aircraft to be delivered to the Queensland Police Service Aviation Capability Group will provide enhanced life-saving organ retrieval capabilities and further bolster community safety across the Australian state of Queensland.
The new aircraft will provide the operational capability to conduct organ retrieval flights to locations anywhere in Australia and New Zealand. Highlighting the importance of these life-saving missions, in the last 18 months alone, the Queensland Police Service Aviation Capability Group has conducted more than 100 organ retrieval operations. That's around six organ retrievals per month or around one per week.
Acting police minister Mark Furner joined acting assistant commissioner Marcus Hill to announce the QPS' purchase of the new aircraft that will replace its ageing and antiquated fix-wing aircraft fleet.
“Following extensive consultation and evaluation, the QPS has purchased two new mid-sized jets and five new turboprop aircraft to replace the current outdated fleet,” Minister Furner said. “The modern aircraft will boost capacity and capability across its extensive government operations, which includes life-saving organ transfers, specialist police operations, general transportation to remote areas and prisoner transfers. This investment will ensure regional communities and the south-east corner alike are safeguarded with versatile aircraft capable of deploying specialist police, assisting in search and rescues and providing disaster relief at a moment's notice.”
Acting assistant commissioner Marcus Hill said the purchase includes five Beechcraft King Air 360 turboprops, which will be based in Cairns, Mount Isa and Brisbane, and two Gulfstream G280 jets, which will be based in Brisbane. The King Air 360 aircraft will be equipped with a gravel landing protection kit and configured in a high-density seat transport configuration.
“The modern turboprops will have cargo accessibility to help transport important supplies during disasters and special police equipment that can be transported anywhere in Queensland or Australia," he commented. "They will also be pressurised, allowing them to travel higher and faster and attend to urgent jobs quicker.”
Acting assistant commissioner Hill said the two jets replace QPS' old Citation and Hawker jets, which were recently sold after reaching the end of their economic and operational life. “The new jets have been purposely designed with a utility interior fit out to ensure they are adequate for a range of transportation requirements while representing value-for-money,” he said.
He said the Aviation Capability Group was responsible for providing aviation services for multiple government departments across Queensland including QPS, Queensland Ambulance Service, Queensland Corrective Services, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, Queensland Health and other agencies.
“Demand for aviation services continues to rise significantly, and this replacement fleet will ensure we have the capacity and capability to effectively manage these services for communities across the state now and into the future,” acting assistant commissioner Hill says. “Our fixed-wing aircraft are extremely versatile and enable specialist police officers and equipment such as the dive squad, our Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) and the Explosive Ordinance Response Team (EORT) to be deployed virtually anywhere in Queensland or Australia. The new fleet will mean a reduction in the number of different aircraft types, gaining efficiencies by having pilots and engineering capability more able to be spread across a common fleet rather than having a complex mix of different aircraft.”
The new aircraft will be introduced over the next two years and will bring the total fixed wing fleet to nine aircraft in addition to the rotary wing and remotely piloted aircraft systems.
"We're honoured the Queensland Police Service has chosen the Beechcraft King Air to support its law enforcement mission," says Bob Gibbs, vice president, special mission sales for Textron Aviation. "The King Air continues to be selected for a wide range of special mission roles around the world due to the aircraft's capabilities and reliability."