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Mon, Dec 08, 2008

US Army Orders 39 More UH-72A Lakotas

Production Extended Through 2010

EADS North America has received a contract from the US Army for 39 additional UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopters, extending production under contract of the twin-engine rotary-wing aircraft through 2010.

This latest acquisition, valued at $207.7 million, brings the total number of UH-72As ordered by the Army to 123. The contract modification includes the additional 39 production aircraft, mission kits to equip some of the Lakotas for medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) and VIP logistics operations, along with pilot, maintenance and procedural training.

The Army plans to acquire 345 Light Utility Helicopters through 2016, with missions ranging from homeland security to drug interdiction, support and logistics flights. The UH-72A is based on Eurocopter's EC145 multi-role helicopter.

"EADS North America will continue to meet -- and exceed -- the company's commitments in providing a helicopter that is vital to the Army's rotary-wing fleet modernization," said EADS North America Chairman and CEO Ralph D. Crosby, Jr. "Our UH-72A deliveries to date have been on time or ahead of schedule, and we are pleased that the Lakota has become a benchmark example of a well-managed military aircraft program."

Lakotas first entered service in 2007, marking one of the most rapid introductions of a new aircraft in the US Army's history. Forty-nine UH-72As have been delivered to Army and National Guard units and are in service with units in California, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Virginia and Pennsylvania. 

EADS says the Lakota has attracted interest from other US military services, including the US Navy which ordered five additional UH-72As through the Army contract for use in pilot training at the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, MD.

In addition to their continental US basing assignments, overseas deployments of UH-72As are anticipated for the US Army in Europe, Japan and the Pacific region. The UH-72A's phase-in enables aging 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 Hawks for assignment to warfighting missions.



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