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News > First EC120 for U.S. Customs and Border Protection Delivered

First EC120 for U.S. Customs and Border Protection Delivered

July 14, 2006

The first of ten EC120s ordered for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) was delivered at a ceremony at the American Eurocopter Columbus, Mississippi plant today. Local business leaders, government officials, representatives from the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection and industry leaders gathered with American Eurocopter staff members, who hosted the event. 
“We are proud that once again, the Department of Homeland Security has selected American Eurocopter as the provider for state of the art aircraft to accomplish national security objectives along the Southwest border of the United States,” said Marc Paganini, President and CEO of American Eurocopter. “The EC120 will provide CBP pilots with a platform that gives unparalleled visibility, the latest quiet technology, effective maneuverability and enhanced safety features.” 
The CBP’s primary consideration in making the selection was to procure a helicopter that was technically compliant with its mission requirements: to provide low-level surveillance and security patrol of U.S. borders and to detect and apprehend persons either trying to illegally enter the United States or conduct illegal activity along U.S. borders. 
“The delivery of the first EC120 to U.S. Customs and Border Protection is another example of EADS North America’s firm commitment to the nation’s defense,” said David Oliver, Chief Operating Officer, EADS North America. “We have been supporting the Department of Homeland Security for over twenty years and we are delivering on our promise to provide the Department with another proven and capable helicopter platform for its security requirements.” 
The single-engine EC120 is a light observation helicopter and is the quietest in its class, making it one of the most environmentally-friendly helicopters that can be flown in some of the wildlife areas contained within the CBP’s area of operation. The helicopters will be completed, test flown and delivered by the American Eurocopter facility in Columbus, Mississippi, the same facility that was selected to produce the new U.S. Army Light Utility Helicopters. 
“Protection of our nation’s borders is an ever increasing priority in the war against terrorism and the security of our country,” said Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. “With this first delivery of American Eurocopter’s EC120 to the Department of U.S. Customs and Boarder Protection, the State of Mississippi continues to solidify itself as a major manufacturer of high-tech systems for national security and defense. The capabilities of our workforce are competitive with any other in the country, and this is a indeed proud day for our state, the Golden Triangle Region, and the great employees at the Columbus plant. We are very proud that American Eurocopter has found a successful and profitable home here in Mississippi.” 
The EC120 is the first light single-engine helicopter to incorporate all the latest technologies available, such as VEMD (Vehicle and Engine Multifunction Display), the Fenestron tail rotor and the Turbomeca ARRIUS engine that generates a takeoff power of 504 shp. The design makes it the most comfortable helicopter in its category, with a wide cabin that can accommodate up to 5 persons and provide excellent visibility through its large cabin windows. There are 387 EC120s currently in operation, with combined flying time of more than 354,500 total hours.

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