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EADS deploys four UH-72A Lakotas to US Army
Posted On: Jul 30, 2010
One of the four UH-72A Lakotas deployed to the US Armyís missile test site, painted in high-visibility orange. Photo: EADS.
EADS has delivered four UH-72A Lakotas Light Utility Helicopters to US Army at the Pacific Ocean’s Kwajalein Atoll (US Army’s missile test site).
US Army will replace its aging UH-1 helicopters with the Lakotas. The helicopters will be used for transport and support missions at the US Army’s Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense test site.
The Lakotas are equipped with skid-mounted floats with integrated life rafts and jettisonable cockpit doors.
“The UH-72A Lakota is uniquely suited for forward basing in a remote location like the Kwajalein Atoll due to the helicopter superior reliability, maintainability and operational availability rate,” Col. L. Neil Thurgood, US Army Utility Helicopter Project Manager, said in US Army official release.
The helicopters were transported by a US Air Force C-17 airlifter to Kwajalein Atoll from Mississippi.
“This latest deployment is yet another strong demonstration of UH-72A’s ability to perform a full range of missions, contribute to national security and support critical war-fighter readiness,” EADS North America CEO Sean O’Keefe, said.
US Army’s Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) will receive five UH-72As and five additional Lakotas by next year.
Apart from this, US Army has planned to acquire 345 UH-72As by 2016, and the service has ordered 187 of the helicopters so far – including five H-72A versions acquired for the US Navy.
Till date, EADS North America has delivered 125 UH-72As to US Army.
The US Army and Army National Guard units use the service of the UH-72, for missions that include medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), search and rescue, drug interdiction, VIP transport and general aviation support.
The UH-72A is a Defense Acquisition Category (ACAT I ) major defence acquisition programme for the US Defense Department, and the Lakota’s service entry in 2007 marked one of the most rapid introductions of a new aircraft in the US Army’s history.
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