As the Guyana Defence Force upgrades its fleet of aircraft, it is now accepting tenders for a Bell 412 model that was previously used in operations.
The unserviceable aircraft, with registration 8RGFP Year 1982, has a seating capacity of 13 passengers and two crew members. Tenders are to be submitted to the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board, Ministry of Finance no later than May 4.
Last November, it was announced that Guyana would be the recipient of four Bell military helicopters, plus support equipment, as part of a US$256 million sale approved by the United States (US) Department of Defense to boost Guyana’s military capabilities.
The details of the sale were announced in a Department of Defense (DOD) statement. According to the particulars of the sale, Guyana would get four helicopters, including two Bell 412Epi and two Bell 429 helicopters, plus related equipment.
Later in March, the acquisition of the Bell 412EPI helicopter arrived to boost the GDF Air Corps’ capabilities.
The Bell 412EPI is termed a dual-use helicopter. It is a platform that has been designed by Bell Helicopters USA in compliance with regulatory standards that can satisfy both civilian and military use with only minimal adjustment. It is primarily a medium-lift helicopter and is well adapted for operation in harsh and demanding environments.
At that time, President Irfaan Ali said there is need to analyse the new requirements of the security systems based on the developmental path. He had explained that Guyana has a lot more economic assets to protect while alluding to the impending development that comes with Guyana becoming an oil-producing nation. Additionally, the President said that being prepared for the security challenges requires a modern forward-looking security architecture and that is what his Government is working on building.
“We realise and we know that our defence architecture has to be supported by the best diplomacy and the greatest of partnerships. We have to have partnership, we have to recognise also that we have to have trusted partners, it is very important in our defence,” Ali was quoted.
The President added that the Air Corps has the capability to maintain the new helicopter not because they are just responsible but because they have been trained to ensure that the assets they are provided with are properly maintained.
Back in September 2017, former Director General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Retired Lieutenant Colonel Egbert Field had cause to lament the deteriorated state of the GDF’s helicopters. He had said at the time that Guyana did not have an adequate search-and-rescue helicopter, that there was no navigational aid at the main airport outside a certain radius, and that this risky situation has been ongoing for years without rectification.