WLBT-TV Jackson

Border patrol to pay $21M for helicopters made in Miss.

By Anthony Warren

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WLBT) - Helicopters built at a plant in Columbus could soon play a role in securing the U.S. border.

On Wednesday, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith announced that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had issued a $21.2 million contract to begin production of Light Enforcement Helicopters at the Airbus plant in Columbus.

“Light Enforcement Helicopters play an effective role in curtailing illegal activities on our borders,” Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith said. “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.”

Smith, who is a member of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, said that the contract is for the delivery of up to nine LEHs. The contract has a potential value of $65.9 million.

The helicopters will help replenish a fleet that has been “diminished by aging airframes and accidents,” according to a release from Hyde-Smith’s office.

The contract is funded through the fiscal year 2020 appropriations packages, which provide additional funding for defense, border security and other programs, according to a release.