MORE THAN $350 million is to be spent by the Government on the repair of a Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) helicopter.
A ministry paper tabled in Parliament last Tuesday indicates that Cabinet approved the expenditure of US$3.4 million, or approximately J$355 million, for the repair of the Bell 412EP helicopter.
The JDF told The Sunday Gleaner that the aircraft was in the process of "a major engine overhaul in 2005, when a structural support unit failed, damaging its tail boom and underbelly".
"It has been eight years since the aircraft was rendered inoperable and so it will need to undergo substantial mechanical work during this upcoming repair process," the JDF said.
The Cabinet document said the JDF fleet of helicopters is a national strategic asset, which provides the nation with an important response capability for a dynamic range of contingencies.
According to the JDF, the Bell 412EP is a national strategic asset which provides an important response capability for a dynamic range of contingencies, including support for disaster relief, search-and-rescue operations, casualty and medical evacuations, law enforcement, counter-narcotics operations, and other essential government services.
"Having a second 412 online and serviceable will enhance our ability to carry out these important missions," said the JDF.
Edwards Rotorcraft Solutions, a company based in Florida, has been given the contract to repair the aircraft, registered JDF H-23.
Parliament had approved the spend in the 2013-2014 estimates of expenditure.