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News > UH-72A Light Utility Helicopter Deliveries Begin to the U.S. Army National Guard


UH-72A Light Utility Helicopter Deliveries Begin to the U.S. Army National Guard

June 7, 2008

The U.S. Army National Guard’s first two UH-72A Lakotas were formally presented today to the 1-114 Security & Support Battalion, which performs homeland security, counter-drug and other operations from Mississippi’s Tupelo Regional Airport. 

The ceremony was a down-home welcome, as the Lakota’s new basing location is about 70 miles from American Eurocopter’s Columbus, Mississippi facility – where the new-generation Light Utility Helicopters are built. 

 Army National Guard units will be the primary operators of UH-72As, ultimately receiving 200 of the total 345 Lakotas planned for acquisition through 2017.   

The helicopters presented today are assigned to the Mississippi Army National Guard, and were the 28th and 29th UH-72As delivered from Columbus – all of which were provided on or ahead of schedule. Previously-delivered Lakotas have been assigned to the Army’s National Training Center Air Ambulance Detachment at Ft. Irwin, California; the Training and Doctrine Command’s flight detachment at Fort Eustis, Virginia; and the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana.   

With the UH-72A’s introduction, the Army National Guard has a modern helicopter for use in state and national homeland security missions, enabling the retirement of aging OH-58 and UH-1 rotary-wing aircraft. Additionally, Lakota deliveries to the active component of the Army will free up UH-60 Black Hawks for assignment to warfighting missions.  

The UH-72A is based on Eurocopter’s EC145 multi-role civilian helicopter, which is in service worldwide for transport, medical evacuation, off-shore, law enforcement and other missions. EC145s are built at Eurocopter’s Donauwörth, Germany facility, with UH-72A production for the U.S. Army being handled at American Eurocopter’s new state-of-the-art facility adjacent to Columbus’ Golden Triangle Regional Airport. 

Lakota deliveries currently are averaging three to four helicopters per month via EADS North America, with the capability of reaching five aircraft monthly. In addition to the UH-72A’s assignment to Army and Army National Guard units in the continental United States, overseas basing of the helicopters are anticipated for U.S. Army units in Europe, Japan and the Pacific. The Lakota also has attracted interest from other U.S. military operators, and U.S.-approved foreign military sales also are a possibility. 

Since the UH-72A’s service introduction with the U.S. Army in early 2007, Lakota helicopters have flown some 4,000 hours with over 90 percent full mission capable rate. 

n its basic configuration, the UH-72A is operated by a crew of two pilots and accommodates six passengers. The helicopter has VHF/UHF radios for military and inter-agency communications with emergency and first responder personnel. For medical evacuation, the helicopter carries two NATO-standard litters, along with a medical kit. Other mission-specific systems may be incorporated on Lakotas, including an Army National Guard equipment package consisting of a forward-looking infra-red sensor (FLIR), searchlight, digital map and air-ground data link.

 


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