UH-72As With Advanced Mission Equipment Package Landing With
National Guard Units
Delivery to the National Guard of UH-72A Lakota Light Utility
Helicopters (LUH) outfitted with the Security and Support (S&S)
Battalion Mission Equipment Package (MEP) is underway, according to
EADS North America. "This highly capable configuration is the
latest and most significant evolution of the Lakota and the
missions it is asked to perform," said Sean O'Keefe, CEO of EADS
North America. "These S&S Battalion Lakotas provide our Army
National Guard units with the ability to effectively respond at a
moment's notice to a wide range of operational assignments
including natural disasters, search and rescue operations, border
protection missions and law enforcement support."
Lakotas equipped with the S&S Battalion MEP will be operated
by Army National Guard units across the country. The S&S
Battalion MEP will greatly expand the capabilities of the Army's
UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopters and further demonstrates
the platform's flexibility for growth and mission-specific
configurations. Currently 68 of the 99 anticipated S&S
Battalion MEP installations are on contract. Of the 68 on contract,
52 Lakotas will be built with the S&S Battalion MEP integrated
during production, and 16 Lakotas already in service with the Army
National Guard will be retrofitted at the company's American
Eurocopter facility in Columbus, MS.
The S&S Mission Equipment Package contains a centerline
electro-optical infrared (EO/IR) sensor, a 30 million candle power
search light, analog/digital video downlink, rear observers'
console with a 15-inch display, an enhanced tactical communications
suite, an onboard digital video recorder, 10.4-inch auxiliary
displays for the pilot and co-pilot, and a video management system.
The company's American Eurocopter business unit created a dedicated
UH-72A manufacturing facility in Mississippi capable of sustained
annual output of 55 Lakotas.
UH-72A Lakotas are operating from 33 locations in the
continental U.S., Puerto Rico, Germany and the Kwajalein Atoll. The
U.S. Army has ordered 237 UH-72As to date out of a total program of
345 helicopters through 2015. To date 190 aircraft have been
delivered to the Department of Defense, including five for the U.S.
Navy Test Pilot School.
The U.S. Army is using Lakotas in multiple configurations to
fulfill a range of missions, including medical evacuation, search
and rescue operations, homeland security, VIP transport, disaster
response and relief, general aviation support, combat flight
training and pilot sustainment training.EADS North America also
provides the Army with FAA-certified flight and maintainer