The United States Army has awarded Airbus with a new modification to an existing contract worth over USD$220 million. The modification calls for Airbus to construct 41 additional UH-72A light utility helicopters. These units will be used by the United States Army as flight trainers at Fort Rucker, Alabama. Announced on February 12, 2015, the contract will run until July 31, 2017 with work being completed at the Airbus facility in Columbus, Mississippi.
Originally a USD$43.1 million contract awarded in 2006, the United States Army initially ordered a fleet of eight helicopters. The first delivery occurred in December 2006 with the remaining by July 2007. Due to the effectiveness of the aircraft, another order of 34 helicopters was placed in 2006 with a value of USD$170 million. Full-rate production was authorized in August 2007 with the US Army’s requirement for 322 helicopters, valuing at a potential USD$2 billion.
The UH-72A Lakota is a light utility helicopter that is made based on the specifications of the United States Army. Based on the EC 145 multirole helicopter, the UH-72A was created to replace the UH-1H Iroquois and OH-58 A/C Kiowa helicopters. Primary uses include domestic logistics and support missions, homeland security, disaster response, and medical evacuation. The Lakota incorporates a new COTS technology, Vehicle and Engine Multifunction Display, and Night Vision Goggle-compatible glass cockpit.
Airbus Helicopters, Inc. currently exists as a subsidiary of Airbus Group, Inc. The company manufactures a wide variety of civil and military helicopters and dominates approximately 50% of the civil helicopter market. Their civil helicopter models include the EC120B, Ecureuil, EC135, EC145, Dauphin, EC175, and SuperPuma. Under their military line, the company offers models such as the Fennec, EC635, EC645, Panther, Cougar, NH90, and Tiger. Airbus Helicopters currently has over 900 employees and is headquartered in Grand Prairie, Texas.
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