Airbus Helicopters announces that the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) has ordered the first H125 AStar produced on the new final assembly line at the company’s production facility in Columbus, MS. The H125, locally known as the “AStar” and America’s most popular single-engine turbine helicopter, is now built in the United States by American workers.
Airbus Helicopters Inc. recognized the Ohio State Highway Patrol at a brief ceremony at the Airborne Law Enforcement Association ALEA Expo 2015 in Houston, TX on Friday, July 17.
Ohio State Highway Patrol currently operates two AS350 B2 AStars to conduct a wide variety of law enforcement missions including patrol, aerial searches with thermal imagers, photo missions and marijuana eradication. The highway patrol has been operating AStars for more than 20 years to protect and serve the citizens of Ohio.
Airbus Helicopters Inc. had partially assembled AS350B2 and AS350B3 AStar helicopters in Columbus since 2005. Production of the H125 (formerly AS350 B3e) on the full final assembly line began in late 2014. The OSHP aircraft is the first H125 produced from the Columbus assembly line and certified by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Airbus Helicopters installed the Columbus final assembly line to allow shorter delivery times, increased aircraft customization and the ability for customers to see their aircraft being manufactured, and to offer enhanced customer support. The H125 assembly line is part of Airbus Helicopters Inc.’s 40-acre facility in Northeastern Mississippi that also produces the UH-72A Lakota for the U.S. Army. The plant has delivered more than 340 Lakotas to date, all of them on time, on budget and meeting Army quality requirements.
Captain Randy Boggs of the Ohio State Highway Patrol Aviation Section said the agency is ready to begin operations with the latest, most capable version of the AStar. “Our new H125 will give us increased power and useful load, along with additional safety features,” says Boggs. “We are looking forward to placing our new helicopter into service later this year.”
“It is exciting that the first Made in America H125 will be delivered to the Ohio State Highway Patrol,” says Christopher Emerson, president of Airbus Helicopters Inc. “Law enforcement and government operators will value that the H125 is made in the USA, and it is important that the first ship goes to a long time AStar operator such as the OSHP. Now that we are producing helicopters on the Columbus final assembly line, Airbus Helicopters Inc. will provide better support and service to customers both before and after delivery.”
The OHSP will take delivery of its new H125 at Airbus Helicopters Inc. headquarters in Grand Prairie, TX later this year.