Airbus Helicopters, Inc. (AHI) has delivered the first of 16 new H125 helicopters uniquely configured for US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO). AMO collaborated with AHI as part of a long-term fleet upgrade initiative, and the resulting configuration has led to one of the most advanced, high-tech law enforcement helicopters ever developed.
“Our mission is to safeguard the nation by anticipating and confronting security threats,” said Steve Boyer, Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner for AMO. “Airbus Helicopters’ continued commitment to designing, manufacturing, and delivering quality products will enable AMO personnel to successfully and safely carry out this mission.”
The first helicopter for the new configuration was tested and delivered from Airbus Helicopters, Inc.’s facility in Grand Prairie, Texas. The remaining aircraft are being built in Columbus, Miss, where a workforce made up of 40 percent US veterans also produces the UH-72A Lakota for the US Army and has delivered more than 450 single-engine H125 aircraft for the North American market.
Following a rigorous analysis of its mission needs and next generation aerospace technology, AMO developed a set of requirements for the new helicopters, which Airbus put in place through nearly 30 Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs). The series of STCs are tied together through a primary all-encompassing STC that ensures all of the systems interact properly with one another and with the basic aircraft.
Airbus and AMO have a longstanding relationship of more than 30 years, during which Airbus has delivered more than 100 helicopters from the H120 and H125 family. This new acquisition was made possible through a partnership with Davenport Aviation, an SBA-certified woman-owned small business and HUBZone contractor specializing in the supply of aerospace equipment to federal, state and local government agencies.
“We are honored to partner with Airbus Helicopters and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to support this fleet upgrade for enhanced law enforcement capabilities through the procurement of 16 new H125 helicopters from our GSA contract,” said Leah Simoes, Owner and Chairwoman of Davenport Aviation. “Throughout this project, we have been very appreciative of the support we have received from Airbus and CBP of our WOSB, HUBZone Certified small business.”
Known for its power, versatility and excellent performance in hot and high conditions, the H125 features dual hydraulics, dual channel engine FADEC, a crash resistant fuel system, and advanced glass-panel cockpit displays. The H125 is the single most popular law enforcement helicopter in the US, accounting for nearly half of all helicopters delivered for that mission in North America over the last decade.
The H125 is a member of Airbus’ rugged and proven Ecureuil family. Some 6,600 members of the Ecureuil family (AS350, AS355, AS550, AS555, H125, H125M, EC130, H130) have been delivered in nearly 120 countries for close to 2,000 operators. –ab/shp/mgm