The Belize Defence Force (BDF) is now the proud owner of two Huey rotary wing helicopters assembled by a 17-member team from the Republic of China (Taiwan)’s military and donated by its Government. As previously noted by commander of the BDF, Brigadier General David Jones, it has long been a dream of the Force to have this important asset for use in casualty evacuation and insertion of troops and resupply in remote areas for both his force and visiting militaries of other nations. It will also be loaned for use in civilian capacity for emergency situations. General Jones noted that it will be a challenge to keep the helicopters operating but it is one they relish and take on gladly:
Brig. Gen. David Jones, Commander, B.D.F.: This is now a game changer for the BDF as these assets will make our deployment to our operational areas much faster and with improved efficiency in achieving our assigned tasks. The most important function that the BDF will be using them for is for causality evacuation of our troops, or sick or injured in remote areas or injured while operations. We operate in some very challenging terrain and having these assets can be the difference between life and death. It is going to be a challenge to keep them operational but we made the right decision to take up the challenge as the benefits are overwhelming. We’re also going to work with our close partners the US and other militaries that work with us to assist us in maintaining these helicopters because I know it’s going to be a challenge for the government and the services of these helicopters will not just be for the Belize Defence Force, it will be for all the militaries that operate in Belize that may require their assistance
The used helicopters were originally obtained by Taiwan from the United States and their approval was needed to start the process of transferring the equipment to Belize. General Jones told us that the BDF still has possession of the third Bell helicopter that came down in the Blue Creek area of Orange Walk last year; however, there is a fuel issue that needs to be addressed before the vehicle can become fully airworthy. General Jones added that he does not expect that a full helicopter fleet will be operational in the near future due to expenses; they will be working with the three helicopters that they have for now.