9-Feb-2011 Source: Eurocopter
ARLINGTON, Va., 09.02.2011, The U.S. Army has ordered a total of 32 UH-72A Lakotas from EADS North America in Fiscal Year 2011, which will continue the sustained production for this highly successful program through 2012.
The latest contract brings Lakota orders to 219, composed of 214 rotary-wing aircraft for the U.S. Army and five for the U.S. Navy. Another Army order for 18 more UH-72As is projected in the current Fiscal Year budget, with the Army targeting a total acquisition of 345 helicopters through 2015, for a total of 350 from both services.
EADS North America, and its American Eurocopter business unit, has delivered 148 Lakotas to the Army and five for the Navy, with all aircraft provided on time and within budget. The 150th LUH is scheduled for delivery to the Army in early February.
“EADS North America is extremely proud of our track record of delivering every Lakota helicopter on time and on budget,” said EADS North America Chief Executive Officer Sean O’Keefe. “The entire Lakota program, consisting of not only manufacturing but also engineering, test and certification, integration, and the logistics and training support, keeps this remarkable fleet operational.”
EADS North America, as the prime contractor to the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy, integrates the LUH Aircraft as a system delivering the product to the customer from inception through post-delivery support. The program consists of aircraft production, pilot and crew training, maintenance and supply support, and fielding to new active Army and Army National Guard sites. The industry team includes American Eurocopter, Helicopter Support International and CAE.
Army Lakotas helicopters are operating from 26 basing locations in the continental U.S., Puerto Rico, Germany and the Pacific Ocean’s Kwajalein Atoll following the establishment of 10 new fielding sites in 2010. The Army UH-72A fleet has surpassed the 50,000 flight hour milestone in January.
Lakotas for the U.S. Navy – which are designated the H-72A – have been assigned to the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md. for the training of test pilots from the U.S. military and allied countries. The Navy has accumulated more than 750 flight hours and is currently integrating an training-specific instrument package into its first H-72A with engineering support provided by American Eurocopter. FAA certification of the instrument package is scheduled for February 2011. Helicopter Support International provides the day-to-day contractor logistics support to these aircraft at Patuxent River.
The U.S. Army is using its Lakotas in multiple configurations for medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) missions, search and rescue duties, border patrols along the U.S./Mexican border, VIP transport, general aviation support and in combat flight training at the service’s Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) in Hohenfels, Germany, the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Ft. Polk, La. and this year, at the National Training Center, Ft. Irwin, Calif. EADS North America delivered aircraft in seven distinct configurations in 2010 directly from the production line and retrofitted 41 previously delivered Lakotas to support the growing scope of missions of the UH-72A fleet.
Operational missions have included oil spill monitoring and response flights along the U.S. Gulf Coast region after the 2010 Operation Deepwater Horizon oil spill, as well as disaster response following the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Currently four Lakotas from the Army National Guard’s Ft. Belvoir unit are deployed in Germany for a year to support MEDEVAC missions for U.S. Army Europe command.
EADS North America and American Eurocopter engineers continue to integrate additional mission equipment packages (MEPs) on the UH-72A, achieving FAA certification for the Combat Training Center (CTC) MEP in 2010. Efforts continue on additional MEP integration, including a MEP for the Army National Guard’s Security and Support (S&S) Battalions missions.
The MEP expands the Lakota’s use in reconnaissance, border protection, command and control and air movement operations that support U.S. homeland defense and security missions. In 2011, EADS North America will begin retrofitting previously-fielded UH-72As with the S&S Battalion MEP. In addition to retrofitted aircraft, the first LUH production units with the S&S Battalion MEP will commence later this year with deliveries starting in early 2012.
The UH-72A is produced in Columbus, Miss. at its American Eurocopter business unit’s rotary-wing center of excellence. Production of the Lakota, which is based on Eurocopter’s EC145 multi-role helicopter produced in Germany, has been fully duplicated in Columbus. This successful establishment of a state-of-the-art helicopter production line in the United States demonstrates EADS North America’s ability to in-source high value production activity to the United States.
The 2010 production rate for Lakotas at American Eurocopter’s Columbus facility was 53 aircraft and is scheduled to remain 53 for 2011 – near the existing production line’s maximum capacity of 55 aircraft per year.
The training of U.S. Army Lakota aviators and mechanics also continues on schedule under EADS North America’s responsibility, with more than 500 pilots and nearly 300 maintenance personnel completing their classes at American Eurocopter’s headquarters facility in Grand Prairie, Texas.
The UH-72A is a Defense Acquisition Category (ACAT) I major defense acquisition program for the U.S. Defense Department, and it marked one of the most rapid introductions of a new aircraft in the U.S. Army’s history. Deliveries of the aircraft to National Guard units allow aging OH-58 and UH-1 rotary-wing aircraft to be retired, while UH-72As assigned to the active component of the U.S. Army free up UH-60 Black Hawks for assignment to combat missions.
About EADS North America
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 is a global leader in aerospace, defense and related services. In 2009, the Group – comprising Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian and Eurocopter – generated revenues of â‚¬ 42.8 billion and employed a workforce of more than 119,000.