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Friday July 14, 2006 :

U.S. Customs and Border Protection takes Delivery of its first EC120

( Eurocopter Press Release ) - On July 14, the first of the EC120s ordered for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) were delivered at American Eurocopter’s Columbus, Mississippi, plant. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has ordered ten EC120s. Six more are to be delivered this year, all of them completed, test flown and delivered by the Columbus facility.

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 EC120 will provide the CBP pilots with a platform that provides unparalleled visibility, the latest quiet technology, effective maneuverability and enhanced safety features. It is a light observation helicopter and is the quietest helicopter in its class, making it one of the most environmental-friendly helicopters that can be flown to some of the wildlife areas contained within the CBP’s area of operation.

The EC120 integrates the majority of the latest technological advances for dynamic components, engines, airframes, and avionics. It is equipped with a "Spheriflex" rotor head, which makes maintenance much easier. The eight asymmetric composite blades on the new Fenestron® help reduce the helicopter's noise level to 6.6 dB beneath the limit set by the ICAO. Its engine is the latest Turbomeca Arrius 2F turbine engine that generates 504 shp/376 kW. Maintenance for the helicopter is extremely economical, and its engine is known for its exceptionally low fuel consumption.

The EC120 is the first single-engine helicopter to meet the requirements of the new JAR 27 safety regulations (structurally crashworthy fuel system and pilot and passenger seats). Only light maintenance is necessary on the helicopter, whose designers stressed easy access and cost reduction.

Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a Division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defence and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approx. 13,000 people. In 2005, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer with a turnover of 3.2 billion euros, orders for 401 new helicopters, and a 52 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors. Overall, the Group’s products account for 30 percent of the total world helicopter fleet. Its strong worldwide presence is ensured by its 16 subsidiaries on five continents, along with a dense network of distributors, certified agents and maintenance centres. More than 9,500 Eurocopter helicopters are currently in service with over 2,500 customers in 139 countries. Eurocopter offers the largest civil and military helicopter range in the world.

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