The Nevada National Guard has begun using two new helicopters that officials say will cut search and rescue response times to southern Nevada.
Helicopter Capt. Darren Chrisman tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal the $4 million LUH-72A Lakota helicopters cut an hour from the four-hour flight from northern Nevada.
The new aircraft can fly 167 mph, carry up to 11 people and operate day and night in all types of weather. They are based at the Army Aviation Support Facility near Reno.
Four more are due to arrive by 2015 to replace Black Hawk and Kiowa OH-58 helicopters used during floods, fires and other catastrophic events.
The new aircraft have forward-looking infrared thermal imaging that helps track wildfires at night and find people lost in remote areas.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.