Eurocopter Wins Additional Orders from American DHS
EADS subsidiary American Eurocopter LLC recently announced a win in the US Department of Homeland Security’s Light Enforcement Helicopter (LEH) contract. This maximum $150 million indefinite-quantity/ indefinite-delivery contract will provide U.S. Customs and Border Protection with up to 50 more AS350B3 helicopters. It begins with an initial order of 17 AS350B3s, and is structured as a base year and 4 one-year options. The first AS350B3 helicopter is to be delivered in 2009, ramping up to a target delivery schedule of one AS350B3 every 45 days. The helicopters will be built at American Eurocopter’s Mississippi facility, which also assembles the UH-72 Lakota Light Utility Helicopter for the US Army.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection already owns 48 AS350s and 15 EC120s, with 5 more EC120s on order under a contract that could reach 55 helicopters. See also: EADS release | American Eurocopter release.
The AS350 Ecureuil/AStar is a single-engine helicopter, unlike the twin-engine AS355 which is promoted as a safer option over cities. Nevertheless, the A350B3 version packs enough power that it became the first helicopter to land on Mount Everest. It is popular in the USA, in service with the FBI, DEA, Department of Justice, and a wide array of police departments, and other state and federal agencies. The helicopter pictured above, for instance, serves with the California Highway Patrol (note to readers: never call them “CHiPS”).