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Fri, Jan 15, 2010

UH-72A Lakota Helicopters Delivered To Alabama Army National Guard

EADS-North America Unveils First Two Armed Aerial Scouts

The Alabama Army National Guard’s ability to perform homeland security operations and carry out support missions within the state will be  significantly enhanced with the introduction of four UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopters delivered by EADS North America.

These aircraft are being based at the Army Aviation Support Facility #2 in Birmingham, where the initial two Lakotas were formally unveiled during a ceremony today. The Alabama Army National Guard’s Lakotas are assigned to Detachment 1, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 151st Aviation Regiment. The unit’s federal level missions include aerial command, control and reconnaissance in homeland security operations; and it also is tasked with state-level support for Alabama’s governor and community-based organizations.

File Photo

“It is particularly appropriate that the Lakota has come to Alabama, which has developed a very strong relationship with EADS,” said David R. Oliver, Jr., EADS North America’s chief operating officer. “Our company has an important industrial presence in the state — with a growing engineering center and a recently-expanded aircraft service center in Mobile." The UH-72As are to replace Detachment 1’s aging OH-58 Kiowa helicopters, and are the first new aircraft coming directly to the Alabama National Guard in many years.

"We are extremely excited to be one of the states receiving the UH-72 aircraft,” said Alabama National Guard State Army Aviation Officer, Col. Charles A. Bonasera. “This aircraft brings the Alabama National Guard a much greater capability than its predecessor in the conduct of our homeland security/support mission requirements. The aviators that now fly this aircraft are also very excited and absolutely love what it does for their mission."

EADS North America has delivered 93 Lakotas to the U.S. Army and five to the U.S. Navy. The Army aircraft are based at active duty Army and Army National Guard locations throughout the United States, as well as in Puerto Rico. Future deployments of UH-72As are anticipated in the Pacific, Europe and Japan. The UH-72A is a key element in the U.S. Army’s rotary-wing fleet modernization effort, and the program represents one of the most rapid introductions of an aircraft in the service’s history. The Light Utility Helicopter contract was awarded to EADS North America in June 2006, followed by the company’s startup of UH-72A deliveries in November of the same year. Operational service began in early 2007. A total of 345 Lakotas are expected to be acquired through 2015 for U.S. Army and National Guard operations in missions that range from homeland security and drug interdiction to general support, logistics and medical evacuation flights. The aircraft enable aging National Guard OH-58 and UH-1 rotary-wing aircraft to be retired, while UH-72A deliveries to the active component of the U.S. Army free up UH-60 Black Hawks for assignment to warfighting missions. EADS North America has delivered five H-72A versions to the U.S. Navy for use in training test pilots from the U.S. military and allied countries. In addition to the current production of H-72As and UH-72As, EADS North America is offering the Armed Scout 645 variant for the U.S. Army’s armed aerial scout requirement.

File Photo

Production of the UH-72A helicopter family is performed at a state-of-the-art facility in Columbus, Miss., which has created new job opportunities in the southern United States and throughout the country. The facility is operated by the American Eurocopter business unit of EADS North America.

FMI: www.eads-na.com


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