In answering questions placed in the country’s Parliament on 18 October 2019, Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of National Security Stuart Young, gave some clearer indications of plans for the four AW-139 helicopters belonging to the Trinidad and Tobago Air Guard and which have been grounded since 2017.
Minister Young suggested that discussions were being held with the State-owned National Helicopters Services Limited (NHSL) to take the aircraft on strength and use them to support oilfield operators both in Trinidad and abroad with Guyana being one area of attention. NHSL is a long standing operator of the Sikorsky S-76 and has been trying to restore the AW-139s to operational status for over a year.
Minister Young also hinted at the formation of a new helicopter entity for national security purposes and tasked with supporting the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) and the land and naval arms of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF).
Trinidad’s National Operations Centre Air Division, currently performing all security related air operations, has only two operational aircraft – one AS.355 and one BO-105CBS-4. Problems with serviceability of these two aircraft led to the use and loss of a NHSL EC-135 on a law-enforcement support operation earlier this year.
Photo: TTAG AW-139s. Credit Ryan Mason – Copyright Collective Magazine 2017.