Airbus Helicopters has started deliveries of the newest variant of the Lakota helicopter to the US Army, with 18 units delivered from its production facility in Columbus, Mississippi.
The UH-72B is the latest iteration of the proven off-the-shelf aircraft that has been the Army’s light utility helicopter since the first Lakota contract award in 2006. The UH-72A is the primary rotary-wing training aircraft for the Army, and serves in roles as diverse as search and rescue, disaster relief, counter-drug operations, and live-saving MEDEVAC flights.
“With the addition of the UH-72B Lakota to our fleet, the US Army increases our capability to save lives, protect communities, and provide disaster relief when it’s needed most,” said Col. Calvin Lane, US Army project manager for utility helicopters.
“The Lakota helicopter has been a staple of the Army for more than 15 years now, and we look forward to benefitting from the latest technologies and performances that the newest 72B variant will provide, at no additional research & development costs for the Army.”
Based on the H145, the UH-72B incorporates 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, and automated takeoff.
“Our 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 our country,” said Scott Tumpak, vice president responsible for Airbus military helicopter programs in the US.