EADS North America hand over 50th and 51st UH-72A Lakotas
EADS North America today delivered the 50th UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter to the U.S. Army. This delivery marks another on-time milestone in the acquisition and fielding of the UH-72A to satisfy the Army's Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) requirement.
The 50th and 51st UH-72As were delivered to the Eastern Army National Guard Aviation Training Site (EAATS) from American Eurocopter's Mississippi production facility, where the Light Utility Helicopter, based on Eurocopter's EC145, is built. Based in Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa., the EAATS may operate as many as 18 UH-72As in the qualification of Army and Army National Guard aviators on the new LUH. These were the third and fourth Lakotas provided to the EAATS unit which received its initial two UH-72As in June and July, 2008.
"The assignment of the 50th aircraft to the Army National Guard is particularly significant because the Guard will be the primary operator of UH-72As within the U.S. Army," said Ralph D. Crosby, Jr., the chairman and CEO of EADS North America. "We are proud to be a partner with the Army in modernizing its rotary-wing fleet. Our primary goal is to meet - and exceed - our commitments on this key program."
The UH-72A first entered service in 2007, and deliveries to date have provided aircraft to Army and Army National Guard units in California, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Army plans call for the acquisition of 345 Lakotas through 2016. With its recent order of 39 aircraft, the U.S. Army has now confirmed orders for 123 UH-72As. The UH-72A is used for missions ranging from homeland security and drug interdiction, to support, logistics and medical evacuation flights (MEDEVAC).
Introduction of the UH-72A enables aging Army National Guard OH-58 and UH-1 rotary-wing aircraft to be retired, while Lakota deliveries to the active component of the Army free up UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters for assignment to warfighting missions.
The Lakota fleet has an operational availability rate of over 90 percent, with more than 7,000 flight hours accumulated so far in U.S. Army operations - demonstrating the twin-engine aircraft's excellent performance, reliability, and successful mission execution.
In addition to their continental U.S. basing assignments, overseas deployments of UH-72As are anticipated with the U.S. Army in Europe, Japan and the Pacific region.
The UH-72A has attracted interest from other U.S. military services, including the U.S. Navy which ordered five additional Light Utility Helicopters through the Army contract. The Navy will use the helicopters for pilot training at the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Md.
Production of the UH-72A is averaging three to four helicopters per month - with the capability of reaching five aircraft monthly at the Mississippi production facility located at the Golden Triangle Industrial Park. The state-of-the-art production site is a 220,000 sq. ft. addition to American Eurocopter's Mississippi rotary-wing aircraft center of excellence. The facility has brought high-value jobs into the region with total employment planned to surpass 200 as UH-72A production is fully transferred to the facility.
About EADS North America (www.eadsnorthamerica.com)
EADS North America is the North American operations of EADS, the second largest aerospace and defense company in the world. As a leader in all sectors of defense and homeland security, EADS North America and its parent company, EADS, contribute over $10 billion to the U.S. economy annually and support more than 190,000 American jobs through its network of suppliers and services. Operating in 17 states, EADS North America offers a broad array of advanced solutions to its customers in the commercial, homeland security, aerospace and defense markets.
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