Airbus Helicopters has delivered the first UH-72B, the latest variant of its Lakota helicopter, to the US Army National Guard from its production facility in Columbus, Mississippi.
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Based on the widely successful H145, the UH-72B is designed to incorporate technologies that increase both safety and flight performance, including the five-bladed main rotor, the Fenestron shrouded tail rotor, Safran Arriel 2E engines, and the Airbus-designed Helionix avionics suite.
The Helionix suite includes an advanced dual-duplex, four-axis autopilot to provide flight envelope and over-limit protection, automated takeoff, and fully-coupled approaches to hover.
This delivery is the first of 18 UH-72B Lakota helicopters currently on order to support the National Guard’s critical missions.
According to Colonel Calvin Lane, US Army project manager for utility helicopters, the addition of the UH-72B Lakota increases the US Army's capability to save lives, protect communities, and provide disaster relief when it’s needed most.
“The Lakota helicopter has been a staple of the Army for more than 15 years now, and we look forward to benefiting from the latest technologies and performances that the newest 72B variant will provide, at no additional research and development costs for the Army,” COL Lane added.
The UH-72B is the latest iteration of the proven commercial, off-the-shelf aircraft that has been the Army’s Light Utility Helicopter since the first Lakota contract award in 2006.
The Army is leveraging the benefits of a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) program by receiving product improvements and enhancements through the evolution of the aircraft, without investing any government money into the development of those capabilities.
The Airbus teams in Mississippi, many of whom are US Army and National Guard veterans themselves, are proud to build and deliver the first of this newest Lakota variant in support of the Army’s essential missions, protecting and serving the country, according to Scott Tumpak, Airbus vice president responsible for Airbus military helicopter programs in the US.
“We thank the Army for the trust they’ve placed in Airbus for more than 15 years and counting, as we continue to build on the Lakota legacy for the women and men in uniform that depend on it,” Tumpak said.
With nearly 10 different configurations available, the Lakota is designed to deliver proven performance, operational reliability, and versatility for a broad spectrum of military missions.
Airbus Helicopters builds the Lakota at its production facility in Columbus, Mississippi, which employs a workforce of nearly 250 employees that is made up of 40 per cent US.
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