200th helicopter at American Eurocopter in Columbus

By The Associated Press

COLUMBUS — American Eurocopter in Columbus has delivered its 200th Lakota to the U.S. Army.

The ceremony was held Thursday.

Sean O’Keefe, EADS North America chairman and CEO, says the milestone has been six years in the making, with Lakota production beginning in 2006. He says American Eurocopter finished its first 100 Lakotas in 2010, so the production rate has accelerated.

Company officials say the Lakota is the first production aircraft with the new security and support battalion mission equipment package.

Military officials say it has as an excellent capability for natural disasters, border patrol, and law enforcement missions.

The current program is for 346 of the Lakota models to be delivered to the Army and National Guard through 2016.

Five have already been delivered to the Navy.