American Eurocopter deliveries to US Customs and Border Patrol continue on schedule
The US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has just taken delivery of its fifth AS350 B3 since the beginning of the year. The delivery is part of the Light Enforcement Helicopter contract that the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the CBP, signed with American Eurocopter in July 2008.
The aggressive delivery schedule calls for an initial order of 17 AS350 B3s (five of which have been delivered) to be produced at the rate of almost one a month. The complete multi-year contract may result in orders for a total of 50 AS350 B3s. The aircraft will be supplied in an indefinite quantity/indefinite deliver contract with a base year and four one-year options.
'We have had a longstanding relationship since the 1980s with the Department of Homeland Security and its predecessor agencies' said Marc Paganini, American Eurocopter president and CEO. 'This latest contract for AS350 B3s underscores the aircraft's effectiveness for the missions it undertakes, American Eurocopter is proud to be the primary provider of single-engine helicopters for the CBP’s Air and Marine fleet.'
The CBP Air and Marine has the largest airborne law enforcement fleet in the world and is responsible for nearly 7,000 miles of shared borders between the United States and Canada and Mexico. It also oversees 2,000 miles of coastal waters. The agency has more than 270 aircraft in its fleet including 53 AS350s and 18 EC120s. Both the AS350 and the EC120 are well suited for the CBP’s surveillance missions and security patrol. 'The AStar has been one of the most cost-effective, reliable and productive aircraft that CBP has fielded along the borders in service to enhance the security of our nation’s borders' said Larry Roberts who oversees the contract as part of his responsibilities for EADS North America as director of business development for federal law enforcement aviation.
The AS350 is in service with 75 agencies across the nation, including major federal operators such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Department of Justice.
This contract with the Department of Homeland Security could be worth over US$150 million. The first helicopter was delivered on 19 December 2008. All of these aircraft are being produced at American Eurocopter’s Mississippi facility. The CBP also has an additional five EC120s on order.
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