CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Officials with the Charleston County Sheriff's Office unveiled the department's new $3.4 million helicopter on Tuesday.
The 2012 Bell 407 GX is the newest addition to the sheriff's office air support unit and will replace its Bell helicopter which was produced in the 1970s and was acquired through a military surplus program.
"This newer helicopter has increased passenger capacity, with the ability to accommodate seven occupants as opposed to the previous four-person capacity," CCSO officials said."The newer model utilizes a single-engine, four-blade rotor, which is more efficient than the previous two-blade model."
According to officials, the helicopter was purchased from the Bell Helicopter Company, and had previously been in use by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office in Florida.
"This helicopter will be furnished with a newer model FLIR infrared imaging system, and a microwave down link system that allows real-time video streaming to ground personnel," CCSO officials said."This technology can be utilized by either the pilots or by rear passengers operating a rear control panel. In addition, pilots will employ a Churchill navigation system that provides street overlays of the surrounding area. The landing skids are equipped with flotation devices in the event of a water-based emergency landing."