August 20, 2020 By Helicopters Staff
Airbus Helicopters Inc. delivered the first of 16 new H125 helicopters uniquely configured for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO).
As part of a long-term fleet upgrade program, AMO collaborated with Airbus on a configuration described by the aircraft manufacturer as one of the most-advanced 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, 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’ facility in Grand Prairie, Texas. The remaining aircraft are being built in Columbus, Mississippi, where a workforce made up of 40 per cent U.S. veterans also produces the UH-72A Lakota for the U.S. Army. This facility has delivered more than 450 single-engine H125 aircraft for the North American market.
Following what Airbus describes as 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). Airbus explains this 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 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, explains Airbus, 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 honoured 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.”
The H125 features dual hydraulics, dual channel engine FADEC, a crash resistant fuel system, and glass-panel cockpit displays. Airbus explains the H125 account for nearly half of all helicopters delivered for law enforcement in North America over the last decade.