"Black Thunder" is operational

Text & Pictures : Marc Arys - © SBAP   

   

On August 03, 2011, the newly acquired helicopter MD902, nicknamed ‘Black Thunder’, entered operational service with the Air Support Unit of the Belgian Federal Police.

This helicopter manufactured by MD Helicopters in Mesa/Arizona (c/n 00132) flew for the first time in October 2008 with civilian registration N40216. In August 2009 it was registered as OY-HMS with Casa Air at Horsens, Denmark where it happened to fly in the VIP role.

The Belgian Council of Ministers voted the approval for the acquisition of this helicopter on September 24, 2010 and finally on October 11, 2010, G-16 (registration for the Federal Police) was ferried from Odense, Denmark, through Groningen-Eelde in the Netherlands to its home base at Melsbroek (military side of Brussels National Airport).

‘Black Thunder’ was later on flown to the European Support Center of MD Helicopters at Zwartberg airport (Belgium) where it received the necessary adaptations to be brought to ‘police’ standards, including communications, navigation, camera, …

New on the G-16 is the chin/nose mounted Zeiss Leo III Gimball and the Spectrolab searchlight has been replaced with a Trakkabeam light, which also included colored beams (red, yellow). This latter light is mounted on an extension aft of the lefthand sidebar. The Leo III Gimball comes standard with a day camera, a spotter camera, an infrared sensor and a laser designator.

MD902 G-16 will ultimately be painted in the federal police colours, just like the three other MD900. These latter will also be brought to 902 standards in the future.

 

   
   
Trakkabeam light Mounted on an extension aft of the lefthand sidebar
   
Zeiss Leo III Gimball  

 

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