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Quad A 2017: Lakotas upgraded for the future

19th April 2017 - 13:00 by Jim Dorschner in Washington DC

Quad A 2017: Lakotas upgraded for the future

The US Army is overseeing several modernisation efforts for the service's fleet of UH-72A Lakotas.

Although the type only entered service in 2007, the H145-derived UH-72A, built in Mobile, Alabama, has proven to be one of DoD's most successful acquisition programmes.

The army's UH-72As are in use in support of missions including training, air medical transport, and search and rescue, with Army National Guard units flying Lakotas in support of customs and border protection operations on the south-western border.

In 2016, the entire fleet of some 350 Lakotas completed a wide-area augmentation system navigation upgrade, migrating from traditional paper to digital aircraft logbooks, and converting from a commercial, web-based, maintenance management system to an army developed and owned, web-based, maintenance management programme.

In 2017, 12 Opposing Forces equipped UH-72A Lakotas at the National Training Center in California, the Joint Readiness Training Center in Louisiana and Joint Multi-National Readiness Center at Hohenfels, Germany will be upgraded with a 'shoot back' capability.

This provides day and night target acquisition and a laser-simulated shoot back capability for use in the multiple integrated laser engagement system training environment.

Also in 2017, the army will begin to modernise the entire UH-72A fleet with an ADS-B out aircraft traffic surveillance capability, on schedule to be compliant with the FAA's 1 January 2020 mandate for operations in national airspace.

The 107 FLIR-equipped security and support UH-72As assigned to the Army National Guard will receive moving map database upgrades and minor improvements to the EO/IR sensor hand controller, inter-communication system and tactical video connector panels.

Airbus Helicopters is supporting the army's UH-72A fleet under a Contractor Logistics Support contract announced on 21 December. The contract includes a base year and four one-year options, with a potential five-year value of more than $967 million.

The new agreement, which includes spares, material and engineering support, is a follow-on contract to ten years of CLS support by Airbus Helicopters.

The company will provide the support at army and National Guard bases in 43 states as well as in Kwajalein, Guam, Puerto Rico and Germany.

The contract includes support for Lakotas in use with the Naval Test Pilot School and the Royal Thai Army.

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