COLUMBUS, Miss. (WTVA) -- American Eurocopter officials say they will add more equipment to the Columbus plant for the assembly of AS350 helicopters.
Company officials say the work will begin next year to make the plant a final assembly and test site for the top-selling civilian helicopter in the U. S.
The facility currently serves as a partial assembly location for the AS350.
Eurocopter officials say the move will offset the impact of the reduction of UH-72A Lakota helicopters for the military and provide a boost to sales in the U. S. market, especially with government and enforcement agencies.
The company plans to continue production and retrofitting of the UH-72A aircraft at the plant.
The AS350 final assembly line is scheduled to begin production in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Operations are set to expand in 2015 and the plant will produce up to 60 additional helicopters annually by 2016.
Company officials say the Columbus facility has a history of providing helicopters on-time and on-budget for the U. S. Army, having delivered 280 aircraft to date.