EADS UH-72A LUH enters service
EADS North America’s first UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) equipped with the Security and Support (S&S) Battalion Mission Equipment Package (MEP) has entered operational service with its customer, according to a statement issued by the company on 5 November 2011.
This first S&S Battalion UH-72A Lakota was built and retrofitted in Columbus, Miss. by the company’s American Eurocopter business unit. It will be operated by the Mississippi National Guard’s Company C, 1st of the 114th Security and Support Battalion.
According to EADS, the S&S Battalion MEP expands the capabilities of the Army’s UH-72A Lakota, bringing ‘flexibility for growth to support a broader range of mission requirements’.
EADS said that the mission equipment package for the S&S Battalion MEP ‘includes an electro-optical infrared sensor with a five-mile range that provides still imagery and real-time streaming video to ground stations or command centers, while an onboard computer can archive the footage for later use by law enforcement. Mission performance is augmented with enhanced radios, touch-screen monitors, GPS with street address capability and a 30 million candle power search light.’
According to the company, Lakotas equipped with the S&S Battalion MEP will be operated by Army National Guard units across the country and will soon enter operational service with units in Louisiana, Florida and North Carolina.
Currently 69 of the 100 anticipated S&S Battalion MEP installations are on contract. Fifty-two of the 68 S&S Lakota’s on contract will be built with the MEP integrated during production, and 16 Lakotas already in service with the Army National Guard will be retrofitted at the company’s American Eurocopter facility in Columbus, Miss.
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