Maryland Seeks Bids for New Helicopters

BALTIMORE, MD.– Gov. Martin O'Malley and state officials will seek…

BALTIMORE, MD.– Gov. Martin O’Malley and state officials will seek bids for up to 12 new Maryland State Police helicopters to start replacing the state’s aging fleet, state police announced yesterday.

O’Malley’s budget request, released yesterday, includes $40 million in capital funds for the first two replacement helicopters, state police said. The helicopters will be used for emergency medical services, law enforcement, search and rescue and homeland security.

The request comes four months after a medevac crash that killed four people in Prince George’s County, a tragedy that brought scrutiny of medevac protocols. It also comes amid tough financial circumstances for the state. But state police say it’s important to begin the replacement process because of the long lead time needed to get the helicopters and the multi-year aspect of the replacement plan.

The state police’s Aviation Command now has 11 Dauphin twin jet engine helicopters. The five oldest helicopters were purchased in 1989.

The state’s Department of Transportation is coordinating the procurement process. The request for proposals will be released Jan. 30; proposals are due by March 17.

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