America Eurocopter will hold a rally Friday at 10:30 a.m. as part of a campaign to urge Congress to restore Fiscal Year 2014 funding for the Army UH-72A Lakota helicopter. Area public officials as well as executives of American Eurocopter and EADS North America will speak at this approximately one-hour event. Lunch will be served afterward.
The proposed FY 2014 budget cuts funding for the UH-72A Lakota, a light utility helicopter used by the Army and National Guard, and would effectively end production in 2014. These cuts would mean the loss of an estimated 100 jobs at American Eurocopter in Grand Prairie, more than 100 at area suppliers, as well as endanger many of the jobs at the American Eurocopter plant in Columbus, Miss. where the aircraft are produced.
The cuts would also hamper promising efforts to sell the Lakota to other potential domestic and export markets.
Confirmed speakers for the rally include: U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Arlington; State Rep. Linda Harper-Brown, R-Irving; Grand Prairie Mayor Ron Jensen; Marc Paganini, American Eurocopter President and Chief Executive; and Russ Spray, President and Chief Executive of Turbomeca USA, the Grand Prairie-based engine supplier for the Lakota.
News media are invited to attend this event. For further details please contact Bob Cox, Senior Manager of Communications and Media Relations, at 972-641-3525 or by email at: [email protected]
American Eurocopter is located at 2701 N. Forum Drive, Grand Prairie. The visitor and media entrance for the event will be Gate 5, off Alouette Drive just east of Forum. There will be signs and American Eurocopter personnel will provide parking directions. Please plan on arriving by 10 a.m.
Key Facts about the UH-72A Lakota Program
•The UH-72A Lakota contract was competitively awarded to EADS North America in 2006 to fulfill the Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) requirement. The Lakota replaced OH-58 A/C and UH-1 aircraft. A total of 345 aircraft were authorized for the Army and National Guard. The Navy subsequently ordered five aircraft.
•A total of 267 (262 Army; 5 Navy) aircraft have been delivered as of May 30.
•Every Lakota has been delivered on time and on budget.
•The Army’s plan was to order 31 aircraft in FY14 and 10 in FY15. FY15 is the final budget year for contract orders under the existing 10-year contract.
•Approximately 210 of the 345 UH-72A aircraft requirement are designated to the Army National Guard. National Guard aircraft are fielded into Security and Support (S&S) Battalions to provide reconnaissance, command and control, medical evacuation and air movement operations in support of Homeland Defense and Security missions.
•These battalions provide a dispersed, light aviation capability to support military missions and operations in support of civil authorities, including on the U.S. Southwest border. Lakota’s are now deployed with Army units in Germany, Puerto Rico and Kwajalein Atoll.
•The UH-72A Lakota program is recognized as a model defense acquisition program by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisitions, Technology and Logistics.
•The Lakota has consistently demonstrated exceptional contract performance, at or below program cost and ahead of contract schedule requirements, while maintaining the highest demonstrated operational availability in the Army inventory.
•Compared to other Army and National Guard helicopters,flight hour costs for the Lakota are among the lowest: 38 percent less than the UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter.
•American Eurocopter Corp., based in Grand Prairie, Texas is a subsidiary of EADS North American and produces the UH-72A Lakota at its plant in Columbus, Miss.
•Cutting Lakota production and ending the program would likely result in up to 100 jobs being lost at American Eurocopter in Grand Prairie, another 100 or more jobs at Dallas/Fort Worth area and Texas suppliers, and many more jobs at the Columbus plant, which employs about 320. A high percentage of American Eurocopter employees in both Texas and Mississippi are veterans of the U.S. armed forces.
•Cutting Lakota production would severely impact ongoing and promising efforts to find new domestic and export customers for this aircraft.
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