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Sun, Oct 16, 2011

Deliveries Of Upgraded Lakota Helicopters Underway

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 training.

FMI: www.eads.com

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