COLUMBUS — EADS North America has delivered the 200th UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopter (LUH) to the U.S. Army. EADS North America commemorated the event yesterday at a ceremony at the company’s American Eurocopter production facility in Columbus.
“Today marks another significant milestone for the Lakota program — the only DoD program of this size and scope to remain 100 percent on schedule and on budget,” said Sean O’Keefe, EADS North America chairman and CEO. “The success of this program stems from the strong partnership we’ve built with the Department of Defense and the Army over the past seven years.”
The 200th Lakota helicopter is the first production aircraft to be delivered with the new Security and Support (S&S) Battalion Mission Equipment Package (MEP). Lakotas are produced at the company’s American Eurocopter facility in Columbus, which is the same facility where the initial S&S Battalion Lakotas were retrofitted.
The Lakotas equipped with the S&S Battalion MEP will be operated by Army National Guard units across the country. Currently 52 Lakota helicopters will be produced in the Army’s S&S Battalion configuration, in addition to 16 Lakota helicopters being retrofitted to this configuration. The total anticipated number of S&S Battalion Lakotas will grow to 99 aircraft. EADS North America has five H-72A versions to the U.S. Navy for test pilot training.
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 replace UH-60 Black Hawks.