Pakistan takes delivery of first aid helicopter

Switzerland has handed over the first of ten Alouette III helicopters to Pakistan to help ongoing flood relief efforts.

This content was published on September 21, 2010 - 09:39 and agencies

The helicopter was due to be transported from Emmen airport near Lucerne on Tuesday in a Pakistani air force cargo plane. The remaining nine will be delivered in the coming months.

The Alouette III fleet were due to be taken out of service by Switzerland at the end of the year. In view of the size of the current flood disaster, Bern is giving the helicopters free of charge.

Pakistan has signed a commitment not to arm the helicopters and to use them only for search and rescue.

Even before the current floods, Pakistan had expressed an interest in buying the Swiss Alouettes to boost its small fleet used for rescues in disaster relief operations.

The Alouettes are not subject to the Swiss law governing arms exports.

Switzerland is replacing its Alouettes with the Eurocopter EC635, which came into service at the end of 2009.

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