USA — Army’s newest helicopter now flying in Europe

KAISERSLAUTERN, Ger­many — The 21st The­ater Sus­tain­ment Com­mand paved the way for anoth­er first when it facil­i­tat­ed the acqui­si­tion and receipt of five UH-72A Lako­ta heli­copters — the Army’s newest air­craft. The cut­ting-edge heli­copters received at Ram­stein Air Base, April 13, are the first ones to reach the U.S. Army in Europe.

Army’s Joint Multinational Readiness Center at Hohenfels, Germany
A mem­ber of the Fal­con Team, the avi­a­tion detach­ment at the Army’s Joint Multi­na­tion­al Readi­ness Cen­ter at Hohen­fels, Ger­many, per­forms a visu­al inspec­tion of the JMRC’s newest air­craft on Ram­stein Air Base, April 19. The UH-72A heli­copter with the tail num­ber 72100 is the 100th Lako­ta air­craft deliv­ered to the Army. It will be used at JMRC’s Com­bat Train­ing Cen­ter.
Source: US Army
Click to enlarge

The light-util­i­ty heli­copters were towed to and reassem­bled at the The­ater Avi­a­tion Sus­tain­ment Man­ag­er Europe’s closed loop facil­i­ty on Ram­stein. TASM‑E, 405th Army Field Sup­port Brigade, which falls under the oper­a­tional con­trol of the 21st TSC, is respon­si­ble for the main­te­nance of the light util­i­ty heli­copters under the Depart­ment of the Army Con­tract Logis­tics System. 

“As the senior logis­ti­cian for the USAREUR The­ater, Major Gen­er­al (Patri­cia) McQuis­tion, (the com­mand­ing gen­er­al of the 21st TSC) has a keen inter­est in all logis­tics sup­port of this the­ater, to include the con­tracts,” said William Sanders, the chief of the 21st TSC’s sup­port operation’s avi­a­tion logis­tics section. 

How­ev­er, until the Army offi­cial­ly took pos­ses­sion of the air­craft, it was hands-off for them. While TASM‑E pro­vid­ed the space, equip­ment and tools and stood ready to assist when and wher­ev­er pos­si­ble, the Lako­tas were being off-loaded and re-assem­bled by rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the man­u­fac­tur­er and the light util­i­ty heli­copters prod­uct office at Red­stone Arse­nal, Ala. 

Await­ing their turn was not always easy. 

“They are so new, they still have that new heli­copter smell,” said Carl Mar­quez, an air­craft mechan­ic at the closed loop facility. 

“On the oth­er hand, who could do it bet­ter, any­way? Every­one here is work­ing toward an easy and smooth tran­si­tion,” said Allen Par­tain, a qual­i­ty assur­ance rep­re­sen­ta­tive with TASM‑E.

Final­ly, when it was time for the ground run-ups of the first three reassem­bled Lako­tas April 19, the end own­ers had their turn. Three instruc­tor pilots from the Joint Multi­na­tion­al Readi­ness Cen­ter and sev­en air crew famil­iar­ized them­selves with the newest addi­tions to their train­ing fleet. 

The avi­a­tion detach­ment known as Fal­con Team pro­vides the air sup­port train­ing at JMRC in Hohen­fels, Ger­many. The cen­ter is slat­ed to receive 10 UH-72As. Among its ini­tial deliv­ery is the air­craft with tail num­ber 72100, sig­ni­fy­ing the 100th Lako­ta heli­copter deliv­ered to the Army. 

The heli­copters will be used to train pilots for com­bat engage­ments. Addi­tion­al­ly, they will car­ry observers to over­see war game sce­nar­ios against oppos­ing force air­craft, said Maj. Bri­an Par­sons, an avi­a­tion observ­er con­troller with the Fal­con Team. 

In addi­tion to pro­vid­ing JMRC with the flex­i­bil­i­ty to train diverse sce­nar­ios, the mul­ti-role Lako­tas will replace the aging UH‑1 Iro­quois air­craft at JRMC and will free up the UH-60 Black Hawk heli­copters for tac­ti­cal mis­sions and deployments. 

That’s anoth­er plus for the 21st TSC, which is respon­si­ble for report­ing the air­craft readi­ness of this the­ater to the Depart­ment of the Army. The intro­duc­tion of the Lako­tas will boost readi­ness rates as well as addi­tion­al oper­a­tional capa­bil­i­ty, Sanders explained. 

Simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, being able to turn in the reli­able but old Hueys at JMRC will elim­i­nate a main­te­nance nightmare. 

“Obtain­ing parts for the UH‑1 Hueys has been a sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge for a while, because (the Army) can­celled all repair parts pro­duc­tion lines for this air­craft,” Sanders said. 

The Lako­ta, an advanced rotary-wing air­craft, is pro­duced by Amer­i­can Euro­copter, a busi­ness unit of Euro­pean Aero­nau­tics Defense and Space. 

“The Lako­ta is the mil­i­tary ver­sion of an exist­ing air­craft — the EC 145 Euro­copter — it was actu­al­ly designed in Donau­wo­erth, Ger­many, which makes it even bet­ter suit­ed for the train­ing mis­sion here,” said Bill Ben­nett, a con­tract field ser­vice rep­re­sen­ta­tive with Amer­i­can Eurocopter. 

Meet­ing the Army’s com­mer­cial off-the-shelf acqui­si­tion strat­e­gy for light util­i­ty heli­copters also equates to time and mon­ey saved for research and devel­op­ment as well as acquisition. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →