Rebtech has completed lighting modifications of the Estonian Air Force’s R44 light utility and trainer helicopter.
Carried out by the company technicians at the Estonian Air Force Base near Amari, Estonia, the upgrade involved installation of Rebtech night vision goggle (NVG) and Supplemental Type Certificated (STC) equipment on a total of four R44 helicopters.
The upgrade, performed under the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidance for foreign military programmes, is scheduled to pave the way for comprehensive NVG training of the country’s military rotor wing aviators.
Specifically, the newly-incorporated night vision technology along with Rebtech NVG cockpit and cabin lighting equipment is expected to enhance the air force’s ability to conduct night-time search-and-rescue and surveillance missions with improved safety and operational readiness.
Out of a total of four helicopters, two are also fitted with external load provisions used for training.
The helicopters are scheduled to be supported by the company from its main offices located in Dallas/Fort Worth in Texas, US.
Manufactured by the Robinson Helicopter Company, the R44 helicopter is designed to conduct instrument flight rules (IFR) training, news collection, passenger transport and ambulance, surveillance and police patrol missions.
The Estonian helicopters, including two police versions and two float-equipped R44 clippers, along with aircrew and maintenance staff training, were acquired through a $2m contract for surveillance and search air rescue operations in August 2002.
The police helicopters are fitted with infrared sensor and a colour TV camera with zoom, fold-down monitor, video home system (VHS) recorder, searchlight, dual audio controller, dual band receiver and two communication radios, GPS, transponder and observation doors.
Of the two R44 clippers, one features fixed utility floats, while the other is integrated with pop-out floats.
Image: A Robinson R44 helicopter during its flight. Photo: courtesy of Dmitry A. Mottl.