The second of three new helicopters Eurocopter Dauphin arrived in Zokniai Airbase near Šiauliai on Friday. It will be used by the Lithuanian military for search and rescue operations.

The new helicopters have not been used for operations so far as pilots are undergoing training. The first Eurocopter Dauphin was transferred by the manufacturer for the Lithuanian military in June, whereas the third one should arrive in November.

The Armed Forces of Lithuania concluded an agreement with company Eurocopter on the acquisition of three helicopters in October 2013. The project is valued at EUR 52 million. The cost includes the purchase price of all three helicopters, the price for all the necessary equipment, training of pilots and crews and after-sales service for three years.

According to pilots, Eurocopter Dauphin is a faster helicopter than the Russian-made Mil Mi-8 used by the Lithuanian Armed Forces. Eurocopter's auto-pilot is particularly effective. The National Defence Ministry said that Eurocopter Dauphin can carry out search and rescue operations at sea 200 km from coast under complicated weather conditions.

The helicopter has a radar, functioning on search and air monitoring regimes, an infrared radar (thermal imaging camera), a floodlight and other tools required for rescue operations.

The helicopter has a seating capacity for 8 people. Although the number of crewmembers depends per objective, it normally consists of two pilots, two operators and a paramedic.

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