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EADS North America selects supplier team to outfit UH-72A Lakota for Security and Support missions

EADS North America and its subsidiary, American Eurocopter, have selected the industry team that will provide components and sub-systems for the UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter Security and Support (S&S) mission equipment package (MEP).

The UH-72A in the S&S configuration will provide Army National Guard units the flexibility to respond to a wide variety of Homeland Security, Homeland Defense and civil law enforcement support missions.  The mission equipment package consists of an electro-optical infrared sensor, data communications suite, moving map display, cabin and cockpit screens, a digital video recorder and a searchlight.

Companies selected to provide key components and sub-systems for the S&S mission equipment package are:

• LCX Systems; Sarasota, Fla.

• Sierra Nevada Corporation; Sparks, Nev.

• Ranger Rotorcraft Group; Fort Worth, Texas

• MARK IV Luminator; Plano, Texas

• L-3 Communications; New York, N.Y.

The Army plans to equip 200 National Guard Lakota's with the S&S mission equipment package. 

"This is a significant step for the Lakota industry team as we continue to meet the evolving operational requirements of the UH-72A and our Army customer," said Ralph D. Crosby, Jr., EADS North America chairman and CEO.  "The addition of these five experienced aerospace companies further strengthens our proven industry team that is delivering helicopters to the Army on schedule and on budget.

To date, 128 Lakotas have been ordered by the Army, with the military service planning to acquire a total of 345 UH-72As through 2016.  In addition, five Light Utility Helicopters have been ordered by the U.S. Navy for pilot training at the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Md.  Currently EADS North America has delivered 69 UH-72A Lakotas, all on or ahead of schedule.

The UH-72A is based on Eurocopter's proven EC145 multi-role helicopter.  As part of EADS North America's expansion of its U.S. industrial presence, a new, purpose-built Lakota production facility operated by American Eurocopter in Columbus, Miss. has become the focal point of the corporation's LUH production and configuration efforts.

Additionally, American Eurocopter has expanded its pilot and maintainer training capabilities and systems engineering staff in Grand Prairie, Texas to meet the growing needs of the Army and its LUH program. These two facilities generate high-value jobs in the United States, and the Columbus facility has met its goal of creating new job opportunities in the region, with total employment planned to surpass 250 as the UH-72A program reaches its full production and final assembly capability.

The UH-72A Lakota fleet has an operational availability rate higher than 90 percent, underscoring the readiness of these rotary-wing aircraft to perform their varied assignments.  The Lakota fleet is supported through a combination of performance-based logistics using full contractor logistics support (CLS) and a hybrid CLS concept with the Army National Guard aircraft.

UH-72As are used in operations across the country that include MEDEVAC (medical evacuation) and evacuation missions, general and multi-role support missions, VIP transport and paradrop operations.  Lakotas also participated in disaster relief and coordination missions for Hurricanes Ike and Gustav in the southern U.S. last September.

Current basing and operating locations for the UH-72A fleet include the Eastern Army National Guard Aviation Training Site in Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa.; Fort Eustis and Fort Belvoir, Va.; Fort Polk and Pineville, La.; Fort Irwin, Calif.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Morrisville, N.C.; Tupelo, Miss.; Burlington, Vt.; Austin, Texas; the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.; Washington, D.C.; Puerto Rico; and this month, the Arkansas National Guard.

Lakotas carry six passengers and a crew of two pilots in the standard configuration, while two litters and seats for two support personnel are available in the MEDEVAC configuration.  The UH-72A also has been certified by the U.S. Army for the free-fall deployment of paratroopers, using the rotary-wing aircraft's large side-fuselage sliding doors.  S&S-configured Lakotas will be employed in Army National Guard Reconnaissance and Interdiction detachment (RAID) missions.

In addition to their U.S. Army basing in the continental United States, overseas deployments of UH-72As are anticipated in Europe and Japan.  The Lakota's phase-in enables aging National Guard OH-58 and UH-1 rotary-wing aircraft to be retired, while Lakota deliveries to the active component of the Army free up UH-60 Black Hawks for assignment to warfighting missions.

Press release issued by EADS North America, Inc. on June 12, 2009


 Contact details from our directory:
Airbus Helicopters Inc. Final Assembly
Sierra Nevada Corporation All Weather Landing Systems, Air-to-Ground Data Links
L-3 Communications Corp. Tracking Equipment, Secure Communications Systems & Equip
EADS North America, Inc. Airframer


 Related aircraft programs:
Airbus Helicopters H145M/EC145

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