18-Jun-2014 Source: Airbus
Captain Ron Kelly of the Mississippi Highway Patrol Air Wing accepted delivery Tuesday of an Airbus Helicopters Inc.AS350 B3eAStar produced for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS). The new law enforcement-equipped helicopter is a Mississippi-built product.
Kelly, commander of the Highway Patrol Air Wing, said the AS350 B3e was clearly the best aircraft for the department’s missions. “We considered price first, and Airbus had the best. Equally as important, we considered the functionality of the aircraft. Airbus’ cockpit design is better for our mission-specific operation. We also considered performance and payload capability, and this model beat the competition.”
Airbus Helicopters Inc. (AHI) operates a helicopter assembly plant in Columbus, Miss., and employs a workforce of nearly 300 people, about fifty percent of whom are military veterans.
“I’m delighted that our home state will now own one of our aircraft,” said Sam Adcock, Vice President and General Manager of the AHI Columbus facility. “Our employees work hard and have a strong sense of ownership in producing the highest quality helicopters. They will be proud to point to this aircraft with the Mississippi Highway Patrol paint scheme, and claim it as one of our own.”
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, who was on hand for the delivery ceremony, said the new helicopter is a welcome addition to the state’s law enforcement tools. “I announced before the 2014 Mississippi legislative session, this year was going to be the ‘Year of Public Safety’ in Mississippi,” Bryant said. “This state-of-the-art helicopter produced by Mississippians will go a long way in meeting the needs of the public on many fronts. Airbus is a valued partner to Mississippi, and we appreciate being able to work with them on the manufacturing and delivery of this helicopter.”
AHI leads the U.S. market in sales of new helicopters to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, maintaining a 56 percent market share over the last decade. The spacious cabin and numerous modern safety features of the AS350 series, including energy-attenuating seats and dual-screen Vehicle and Engine Multifunction Display, make the AStar an industry leader. The ability to install nearly any type of equipment on the AS350 B3e for multi-mission flexibility makes it a favorite with law enforcement agencies.
The AS350 B3e’s multi-mission capability for patrol, drug eradication and hurricane support was a good fit for the Mississippi Highway Patrol requirements. Mississippi DPS sold its aging helicopter fleet to provide funding for the purchase of the new AS350 B3e. More than 220 Airbus Helicopters AS350 AStars are operated by U.S. law enforcement agencies.
About Airbus Helicopters Inc.
Airbus Helicopters Inc. (AHI) is the U.S. affiliate of Airbus Helicopters, the largest helicopter manufacturer in the world, and a subsidiary of the Airbus Group. Airbus Helicopters Inc. is a manufacturer, markets, sells and supports the broadest range of civil and parapublic helicopters offered in the U.S. The product line represents the industry’s most cost-effective, technologically-advanced helicopters serving all markets and missions. The company’s headquarters and main facility are in Grand Prairie, Texas with a large manufacturing and production facility in Columbus, Miss.