European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. (EADS) North America recently said it has delivered more than half of the Army’s target acquisition of 345 UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopters (LUH).
The UH-72A Lakota, built by the company’s American Eurocopter business unit, is one of the Army’s most successful acquisition programs and is repeatedly noted by DoD officials for its on-time and on-budget deliveries.
“Reaching the midway point in deliveries to the Army with an unblemished record of on-time deliveries is an excellent example of our strong performance on the Lakota program,” said EADS North American CEO Sean O’Keefe. “This program clearly demonstrates the company’s ability to successfully execute large programs, in-source manufacturing to the U.S. and create high-value American jobs, while simultaneously delivering on our on-time and on-cost commitment to our Army and Navy customers.”
The UH-72A is based on the best-selling EC145 multi-role helicopter and was developed by EADS’ Eurocopter division. As part of EADS North America’s commitment to the Army, the company’s American Eurocopter business unit created a dedicated assembly line for UH-72As in Mississippi, and successfully completed the on-time in-sourcing of its full production activity from Germany in 2010–with sustained output reaching 53 rotary-wing aircraft annually at the state-of-the-art facility.
Overall EADS has delivered 180 helicopters to DoD. The steady production and delivery represents the rapid success in establishing a world-class production facility, recruiting and training the technical professionals who build the aircraft and the suppliers in the U.S. and overseas.
UH-72A Lakota helicopters are operating from 31 basing locations in the continental United States, Puerto Rico, Germany and Kwajalein Atoll in the Central Pacific, following the establishment of 10 new fielding sites in 2010.
The Army has ordered 219 UH-72As to date, with the total acquisition of 345 helicopters sustaining production through 2015.
Five LUH aircraft are used by the Navy Test Pilot School for their rotary wing test pilot training.
The Army uses Lakotas in multiple configurations for medical evacuation missions, search and rescue operations, border patrols along the U.S.-Mexico border, VIP transport, general aviation support and in combat flight training at the service’s Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, the Joint Readiness Training Center at Ft. Polk, La., and soon at the National Training Center, Ft. Irwin, Calif.
EADS North America and American Eurocopter engineers continue to integrate additional mission equipment packages on the UH-72A, achieving FAA certification for the Combat Training Center MEP in 2010. Efforts continue on additional MEP integration, for a comprehensive package for the Army National Guard’s Security and Support Battalion missions.
The training and logistics for the LUH program is also on track. More than 575 Army pilots and 375 maintenance personnel have completed courses at American Eurocopter’s headquarters facility in Grand Prairie, Texas. The LUH fleet has accumulated more than 67,500 hours to date.