A U.S. Army UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter operated at Fort Eustis, Va., is the first Lakota to log 1,000 flight hours, underscoring the growing operational tempo of the rotary-wing aircraft in service with Army and National Guard units.
Built at the company’s American Eurocopter facility in Columbus, Miss., the milestone Lakota is used for VIP and logistics missions and was the seventh UH-72A built for the U.S. Army. It is based at Fort Eustis along with the eighth Lakota, which is approaching its own 1,000 flight hour mark.
These helicopters are flown by the U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine Command’s (TRADOC) Flight Detachment and they support operations for the U.S. Army Transportation Center, the U.S. Army Transportation School, NCO Academy and Army Aviation Logistics School – all of which are based at Fort Eustis in Newport News, Va.
“The real proof of a military system’s effectiveness is the capabilities it brings in operational service – which is being demonstrated daily by the Fort Eustis UH-72As, along with Lakotas at a growing number of bases across the U.S. and overseas,” said EADS North America Chairman Ralph D. Crosby, Jr.
EADS North America has delivered 125 Lakotas to date, all provided on time and on budget. This fleet, which consists of 120 UH-72As for the U.S. Army and five H‑72As for the U.S. Navy, has accumulated nearly 40,000 flight hours at an operational readiness rate greater than 90 percent.
The U.S. Army plans to acquire 345 UH-72As through 2015 and the service has ordered 187 of these helicopters so far including five for the Navy. UH-72As are operated throughout the United States, as well as in Puerto Rico, Germany and at Kwajalein Atoll by active duty Army and Army National Guard units. They are used for missions that include medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), search and rescue, homeland security, VIP transport and general aviation support.
Deliveries of Lakotas to National Guard units allow aging OH-58 and UH‑1 rotary-wing aircraft to be retired, while UH-72As assigned to the U.S. Army’s active component free up UH-60 Black Hawks for warfighting missions.
In addition to the Army aircraft, the Navy has based their five H‑72As at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., where they are used to train test pilots from the U.S. military and allied countries.
The UH-72A is a Defense Acquisition Category (ACAT) I major defense acquisition program for the U.S. Defense Department, and this twin-engine helicopter’s service entry in 2007 marked one of the most rapid introductions of a new aircraft in the U.S. Army’s history.
About American Eurocopter (www.eurocopterusa.com) American Eurocopter is a helicopter manufacturer that produces, markets, sells and supports the broadest range of civil and para-public helicopters offered by any manufacturer in the United States. The company is a subsidiary of EADS North America Holdings, the North American operations of EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defense and related services, and is an affiliate of Eurocopter, the largest helicopter manufacturer in the world. American Eurocopter’s product line represents the most cost-effective, technologically-advanced helicopters, ranging from light single to heavy twin, serving all markets and missions. Company headquarters and main facilities are located in Grand Prairie, TX, with a large manufacturing and production facility in Columbus, MS, that produces the UH-72A for the U.S. Army’s Light Utility Helicopter program.
About EADS North America (www.eadsnorthamerica.com)
EADS North America is the North American operation of EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defense and related services. As a leader in all sectors of defense and homeland security, EADS North America and its parent company, EADS, contribute over $11 billion to the U.S. economy annually and support more than 200,000 American jobs through its network of suppliers and services. Operating in 17 states, EADS North America offers a broad array of advanced solutions to its customers in the commercial, homeland security, aerospace and defense markets.
EADS North America