FRANKFORT — The Kentucky State Police has added a 1984 Learjet 35 to its aircraft fleet.
A news release from the state police said there is "no up-front cost" to the state in acquiring a former U.S. Air Force jet, valued at $1 million, through a military surplus program.
Justice and Public Safety Secretary J. Michael Brown said in a news release that the state will incur some costs to convert the plane from military to civilian use. The state must pay for navigation and radio systems, inspections and pilot training.
"By registering with the surplus program and moving quickly when this opportunity became available, state police was able to procure an asset that would have otherwise been impossible, but that will have significant long term benefits for the Commonwealth," Brown said.
The state police said the plane was acquired through a program of the Law Enforcement Support Office established by the U.S. Department of Defense through the Defense Logistics Agency.
It allows law enforcement agencies to obtain surplus military weapons, tactical vehicles, aircraft and other equipment for any bona fide law enforcement need at no cost, the state police said.
As part of the state police aircraft fleet, the plane will be used to respond to situations across the state that require specialized teams, such as a hostage negotiation team, to be moved into place quickly, Brown said.
The plane also will be used by the executive branch as the need dictates, including for economic development purposes, he said.
The plane is quicker and more efficient for flying longer distances, Brown said.
It won't replace the state's 1972 King Air airplane, but it can be used when longer distances or time are primary considerations, he said.
Because of the relative low number of hours on its engines and other major mechanical systems, the aircraft won't need any significant maintenance for 10 years, Capt. Brandon Hammers, head of the state police Aircraft Support Branch, said in the release.
Kentucky State Police now has three planes and six helicopters.
Jack Brammer: (859) 231-1302. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: Bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com.