In March of 2015, the United States Army took delivery of the first training version of Airbus Group’s UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopter at its production facility in Columbus, Mississippi.
This helicopter will join seven others that have already received the training configuration modifications and have been deployed to Fort Rucker in Alabama in preparation for the Lakota’s formal introduction into the training curriculum that will take place in early 2016.
To date, 411 Lakota helicopters have been ordered by the US Department of Defense—400 of which will be used by the Army. This latest delivery makes a total of 332 aircraft that have been delivered to the customer.
Airbus Group chairman and chief executive officer Allan McArtor said in a statement: "For a program to succeed in the current budget environment, affordability and reliable program performance must accompany mission flexibility.
Since awarding the contract in 2006, the Army has managed this program unfailingly on cost and on schedule, and we're proud to see that record continue as we deliver the latest configuration of this versatile, multi-mission aircraft."
The UH-72A Lakota
is an unarmed, utility militarized version of the Eurocopter EC-145 helicopter
and is primarily used for search-and-rescue, medical evacuations, homeland security, VIP transport, and disaster response and relief, as well as combat flight and pilot sustainment training missions.
Currently operated by the US Army and National Guard, as well as the US Naval Test Pilot School, the helicopter can also be used for general support and counter-narcotics operations. Safety features include a high level of redundancy with a twin-engine design, and redundant hydraulic, electrical and engine control systems. The crashworthy airframe and seats also contribute to the UH-72A's operational safety and survivability.
Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus Group is a European multinational aerospace and defense corporation that manufactures aircraft parts as well as civil airliners. Airbus was originally formed as the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS), but in January of 2014 was reorganized as Airbus Group
—combining the divisions for development and marketing of civil and military aircraft, as well as communications systems, missiles, space rockets, helicopters, satellites, and related systems.
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