U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), a member of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, today reported that the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has issued a $21.2 million contract to begin production of Mississippi-built Light Enforcement Helicopters (LEH).
The CBP contract, which has a $65.9 million potential value, is for the delivery of up to nine LEHs. The aircraft are manufactured at the Airbus plant in Columbus.
“Light Enforcement Helicopters play an effective role in curtailing illegal activities on our borders. This contract represents our continued work to provide CBP with new aircraft to replace old and less-effective aircraft. I’m pleased aircraft manufacturers in the Golden Triangle Region will continue to contribute to this goal,” Hyde-Smith said.
The contract is funded through FY2020 appropriations and represents Hyde-Smith’s continued work to secure funding for new aircraft to strengthen the CBP helicopter fleet, which has been diminished by aging airframes and accidents. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 provides $28.4 million to continue recapitalization of the LEH fleet.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security deploys the multi-mission LEHs for border surveillance and law enforcement missions, including the transport and insertion of CBP agents responding to illegal border incursions, search and arrest warrants missions, and high-risk area patrols.