Van Nuys, California - U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Air and Marine (OAM) received the first of eight completely overhauled UH-1N twin-engine helicopters this week. This economical overhaul allows OAM to maintain critical capabilities necessary for the security of the American people, while saving valuable taxpayer dollars.

The approximate cost for the overhaul is $1.3 million per helicopter. A replacement helicopter would cost approximately $9.8 million.

“The overhaul of these helicopters will provide years of reliable service to OAM and our mission partners,” said Kevin Boissonneault, director of OAM’s Logistics and Maintenance Division, the division which initiated the purchase of the helicopters and will continue to lead the refurbishment of the seven remaining helicopters.

A significant portion of the cost for the overhaul was covered through the U.S. General Services Administration Sale/Exchange Program. Through this program, funds from the sale of retired OAM assets are applied to the UH-1N effort.

The helicopters were excessed by the Department of Defense after returning from overseas operations, and sold to OAM by the U.S. Navy in 2012. OAM inspected the first helicopter for corrosion and made repairs as necessary, then missionized it for border security operations. Missionizing included adding or modifying radios, displays, safety equipment, and recorders, before repainting the helicopters.

The UH-1N will be employed for air mobility operations along the border, enhancing both ground searches and interdiction operations. The twin-engine capability allows a crew to operate this aircraft over large bodies of water during coastal enforcement operations.

The first helicopter will undergo an operational assessment in El Paso, Texas, before entering into service next month in McAllen, Texas.

The second helicopter is expected in early April. The remaining six will be delivered at a rate of approximately one every six months until completion in 2018.