Airbus Helicopters Inc. has delivered the first H125 AStar helicopter produced on its new U.S. final assembly line to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
The new aircraft is the first fully assembled on the final assembly line at the company’s helicopter production plant in Columbus, Miss. The completion work, including a state-of-the-art law enforcement communications and surveillance package, was performed in Grand Prairie, Texas.
“This is an important moment for Airbus Helicopters Inc. as we continue to strengthen our presence in the U.S. and North American markets. The H125, the best-selling high-performance single-engine helicopter, is now made in the U.S.A.,” said Chris Emerson, President of Airbus Helicopters Inc. and Head of the North America Region.
The of the H125 to the Ohio State Highway Patrol marks the culmination of a process that began in March 2014 with the announcement by Airbus Helicopters that it would locate an H125 final assembly line in the Columbus plant to serve the U.S. market. It is the first Airbus Helicopters civil model fully assembled in the U.S. from parts sourced globally.
Airbus Helicopters Inc.’s Columbus plant has produced the U.S. Army’s UH-72A Lakota helicopter since 2006, with more than 350 aircraft delivered on time and on budget.
The H125 (formerly AS350 B3e) is the latest version of Airbus Helicopters long-running AStar series of helicopters. The top selling helicopter in its class, the AStar is a favorite of U.S. law enforcement agencies because of its power and maneuverability, load carrying capacity and hot-and-high performance.
“Our new H125 will give us increased power and useful load, along with additional safety features,” said Captain Randy Boggs of the Ohio State Highway Patrol Aviation Section.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol currently operates two earlier model AS350 B2 AStar helicopters to conduct a wide variety of law enforcement missions across the state, including patrol, aerial searches with thermal imagers, photo missions and marijuana eradication. The agency has been operating AStars for over 20 years to protect and serve the citizens of Ohio.
The H125 is equipped with a high-tech law enforcement equipment package including a Wescam MX-10 thermal imager and Spectrolab SX-16 searchlight. Its navigation and communications system include the Garmin G500H glass cockpit and Aerocomputers moving map system.
“With the addition of their new H125, the Ohio State Highway Patrol gains a significant increase in technology and capability for the agency,” said Ed Van Winkle, Senior Sales Manager for Airborne Law Enforcement for Airbus Helicopters Inc. “The modern mission equipment suite and additional power and safety features of the H125 will serve the OSHP well for many years to come.”
Airbus Helicopters’ AS350-series aircraft are the most widely purchased helicopters by U.S. law enforcement agencies. More than 220 are in use nationwide with 43 different law enforcement agencies, 75 of them delivered in the last five years.
The AStar is known for its performance, reliability and multi-mission flexibility. The H125 features dual hydraulics, dual channel engine FADEC, 30-minute take-off power and advanced glass-panel cockpit displays. With a Turbomeca Arriel 2D engine, the H125 boasts a significant power reserve, along with unmatched tail rotor authority and high altitude and hot weather performance. The H125 is the ideal platform for a wide variety of law enforcement missions in varied operating environments.
Airbus Helicopters Inc. began light assembly, test flight and certification of AS350 B2 and AS350 B3 AStars at its Columbus facility in 2005. Full final assembly of the H125 began in late 2014 after a contingent of the Mississippi plant’s managers and lead assemblers underwent weeks of training at Airbus Helicopters headquarters in Marignane, France.