EADS North America delivers first US Army UH-72A Lakota helicopters for basing outside of continental United States
The first two EADS North America-built UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopters to be based outside of the continental United States have been delivered to the US Army for operations in Puerto Rico.
The UH-72A is a derivative of Eurocopter’s proven EC145 multi-role helicopter, and is produced at a state-of-the-art facility in Columbus, Miss., that is operated by American Eurocopter, an EADS North America company.
These rotary-wing aircraft were the 66th and 67th UH-72As delivered to US Army and Army National Guard units by EADS North America, and they continued the company’s track record of on-time deliveries for the service’s new Light Utility Helicopter.
Both Lakota helicopters are now located at San Juan’s Isla Grande Airport, and are operated by Detachment B/1-114AV of the Puerto Rico National Guard. They are equipped for general aviation support missions.
“These latest deliveries expand the UH-72A’s area of operations and underscore the Lakota’s ability to serve in a full range of climates and conditions,” said EADS North America Chairman and CEO Ralph D. Crosby, Jr. “With an operational availability rate higher than 90 percent, the UH-72A continues to demonstrate its mission readiness in support of our warfighters and for America’s homeland security.”
To date, 128 UH-72As have been ordered from EADS North America for US Army and National Guard service, with plans to acquire a total of 345 of the twin-engine helicopters through 2016. Five aircraft in the H-72A configuration also are on contract for use by the US Navy in test pilot training at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md.
Since the start-up of deliveries in November 2006, Lakotas have been based coast-to-coast with Army and National Guard units, and are used in operations that range from support and medical evacuation missions at Ft. Irwin, Calif. to multi-role airlift flights in the Washington, D.C. area. In September 2008, Lakotas also participated in disaster relief and coordination missions for Hurricanes Ike and Gustav in the southern US
Phase-in of the UH-72A fleet is enabling the National Guard to retire its aging OH-58 and UH-1 rotary-wing aircraft, while Lakota deliveries to the active component of the Army free up UH-60 Black Hawks for combat missions.
In addition to their basing in the continental United States and Puerto Rico, future overseas deployments of UH-72As are planned to Europe.
A variant of the UH-72A is being proposed by EADS North America as a new armed scout helicopter solution for the US Army – the Armed Scout 645.
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