About the UH-72A
UH-72A quick facts
- Max. Weight: 7,903 lbs.
- Capacity: 2 pilots + 6 passengers
- Power plant: 2 Turbomeca Arriel 1E2 turboshaft engines
- Fast cruise speed: 131 kts.
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EADS North America’s UH-72A Lakota serves as a key element in the military service’s modernization of its aviation assets – providing a highly capable helicopter for missions that include homeland security, drug interdiction, general support, logistics and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC).
Additionally, the UH-72A’s introduction with U.S. Army and National Guard units throughout the United States and overseas is freeing up other rotary-wing assets for deployment to Afghanistan and elsewhere.
EADS North America won the Lakota contract on June 30, 2006, and it officially delivered the U.S. Army’s first UH-72A on December 11 of the same year – three months ahead of schedule. The first operational U.S. Army unit was equipped within 11 months of the Lakota contract award, making this one of the most rapid introductions of a new aircraft in the service’s history.
As of May 2013, EADS North America had delivered 264 Lakotas – all on time and on budget – from its American Eurocopter facility in Columbus, Mississippi, where up to five aircraft per month are produced by a workforce that is more than 50 percent U.S. military veterans. This delivery performance maintains the Lakota’s position as one of the U.S. Army’s most successful acquisition programs – which is repeatedly noted by Defense Department officials for its on-time and on-budget deliveries.
UH-72A Lakotas are operating from basing locations across the continental U.S., as well as in Puerto Rico, Germany and the Pacific Ocean’s Kwajalein Atoll. These helicopters are used in multiple configurations for medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) missions; search and rescue operations; border patrols along the U.S./Mexico 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, Louisiana, and the National Training Center, Ft. Irwin, California.
EADS North America and American Eurocopter engineers have expanded the equipment packages (MEPs) on the UH-72A, achieving FAA certification for the Combat Training Center (CTC) mission equipment package in 2010, while the comprehensive MEP package for Army National Guard Security and Support (S&S) Battalion missions entered operational service in 2011.
In addition to the Army Lakotas, the U.S. Navy has received five H-72A versions for training of test pilots from the U.S. military and allied countries.
EADS North America has in-sourced the UH-72A’s production to the United States, creating jobs and bringing high-value business activity to a new helicopter center of excellence at Columbus, Mississippi. Lakota production is handled by American Eurocopter, an EADS North America business unit, which is a leading supplier of helicopters in the U.S. market.
As part of EADS North America’s commitment to the U.S. Army, the American Eurocopter business unit created its dedicated assembly line for UH-72As at Columbus, and successfully completed the on-time in-sourcing of its full production activity from Germany in 2010 to this 220,000-sq.-ft. state-of-the-art facility adjacent to the Golden Triangle Regional Airport.