Latest-Variant LAKOTAs to be delivered for ANG Critical Missions
Airbus Helicopters has delivered the first (of 18) UH-72B LAKOTA helicopters to the US army National Guard, the company announced on 7 September.
“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,” commented 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 and development costs for the Army.”
The UH-72B is the latest iteration of the proven commercial, off-the-shelf aircraft that has been the Army’s Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) since the first LAKOTA contract award in 2006. The Army is leveraging the benefits of a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) programme, by receiving product improvements and enhancements through the evolution of the aircraft, without investing any government money in development of those capabilities Based on the successful 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 latter includes an advanced dual-duplex, four-axis autopilot to provide flight envelope and over-limit protection, automated takeoff, and fully-coupled approaches to hover.
“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,” explained Scott Tumpak, VP responsible for Airbus military helicopter programmes in the US.