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Fri, May 11, 2007

EADS North America To Accelerate Production Of UH-72A Lakota

Cites Increased Demand For US Army's Light Utility Helicopter

Deliveries of the US Army's newest rotary-wing aircraft are continuing ahead of schedule, as EADS North America plans to increase production output of the twin-engine UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter.

Six UH-72As have been received by the Army to date, with the number six helicopter displayed this week at the Army Aviation Association of America's annual meeting in Atlanta, GA.

EADS tells ANN the delivery rate will be ramping up to two Light Utility Helicopters per month in September, meeting EADS North America's production target for the current program phase. At full-rate production, the company plans to build five UH-72As per month.

"EADS North America continues to meet its commitments on this highly important contract, and we have mobilized our company's full resources to ensure that the Army receives high-quality, mission-ready aircraft," said David R. Oliver, Jr., President and CEO of EADS North America Defense.

UH-72As delivered to date are assigned to the US Army's National Training Center at Fort Irwin, CA with more than 550 flight hours logged so far by the Lakota fleet.

The Army has a requirement for up to 322 UH-72As in a 10 year program with a total life-cycle value of over $2 billion. These helicopters will be operated primarily within the US for homeland security operations, medical evacuation, passenger/logistics transportation and drug interdiction missions.

Many of them will be assigned to Army National Guard units in locations throughout the country, allowing older-generation helicopters to be retired and freeing up larger rotary-wing aircraft for assignment to other duties – including deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Assembly and production of the UH-72A is performed at the Columbus, Mississippi facility of American Eurocopter, a business unit of EADS North America. American Eurocopter is in the process of enlarging this site, located at the Golden Triangle Regional Airport, to accommodate the Light Utility Helicopter's production and deliveries.

This expansion is on schedule for completion this September, and includes new buildings for the Lakota's assembly hall, flight line and storage area, paint shop, warehouse, administrative offices, flight operations and flight test engineering.

The UH-72A contract expands EADS North America's 20-year heritage as a supplier to US homeland security and law enforcement agencies, including the US Coast Guard, US Customs and Border Protection, the Drug Enforcement Agency, FBI, and numerous state and local law enforcement agencies across the United States.

FMI: www.eadsnorthamerica.com, www.army.mil

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