Includes First Tailboom Produced At Columbus Plant
EADS North America marked a major industrial milestone for the
US Army’s UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter program this
week, delivering its first final assembly line (FAL) aircraft from
the Eurocopter production facility at Columbus, MS.
This key step -- which, EADS notes, was achieved on schedule --
is part of the company's goal of establishing full production of
the UH-72A in the United States. The Lakota's industrialization is
the responsibility of the American Eurocopter business unit of EADS
North America, and is performed in a 220,000 sq. ft. purpose-built
factory at the Golden Triangle Airport Industrial Complex.
"EADS North America is not only meeting all of our commitments
to the Army, but also meeting our commitments to the US taxpayer,"
said EADS North America Chairman and CEO Ralph D. Crosby, Jr. "We
are creating high-value jobs, in-sourcing technology to the United
States and bringing the production of one of the world's most
successful helicopters to a new rotary-wing center of excellence in
Mississippi. Our Army customers are pleased with the performance
and capabilities of the Lakota and we look forward to supporting
the Navy's training requirements."
The UH-72A is based on Eurocopter's EC145 multi-role helicopter.
As part of EADS North America's expansion of its industrial
presence in the United States, the company has established a
full-scale production capability for the Lakota at its American
Eurocopter facility in Columbus.
A phased stand-up of the UH-72A production line was developed
after the Light Utility Helicopter's contract award to EADS North
America in June 2006. This allowed the company to meet the Army's
need for a new light utility helicopter, while simultaneously
implementing a low-risk plan to transition to full-scale US
production of the UH-72A. The production transition process
involves three major overlapping production phases – Light
Assembly Line (LAL), Full Assembly Line (FAL) and Production Line
EADS North America's initial UH-72A from the FAL phase was the
41st Lakota delivered to the Army. It completed seven of the 14
assembly production work stations involved in the Eurocopter's
production in Columbus – including the installation of flight
instruments, engines, tail boom and doors to systems test, flight
testing and airworthiness approval.
This aircraft also incorporates the first UH-72A tail boom that
was entirely manufactured at the Columbus facility -- representing
another element of the Lakota's production transfer to the US.