Airbus Helicopters UH-72 Lakota fleet has exceeded the 1 million flight-hour mark, some 15 years after the first Lakota UH-72A entered service for the US Army and following the first delivery of the newest UH-72B to the National Guard, as announced at a trade show in Washington, DC.
“Many of the men and women who build the Lakota in Mississippi are US military veterans themselves, and they take a lot of pride in supporting the aviators who serve our nation,” said Scott Tumpak, who is responsible for Airbus military helicopter programmes in the US.
Airbus delivered the first Lakota helicopter to the Army in 2006, the same year the UH-72A was competitively selected as the Army’s new light utility helicopter, and has since delivered 463 of this initial Lakota model which primarily serves as the US Army’s initial entry rotary-wing training helicopter.
Earlier this year, the Army introduced the first UH-72B Lakota to its National Guard fleet, the first delivery of an order placed in 2020 for 18 of the newest Lakota variant. The UH-72B is based on the widely successful H145, which incorporates various product enhancements that have been developed during the lifecycle of the commercial aircraft. The efficient Fenestron tail rotor, more powerful engines, enhanced controls and the Airbus Helionix avionics suite, to name a few, will provide added benefits for mission safety and flight performance.
By the end of October 2021, the Lakota will be operational for Army and National Guard units in 45 states and territories. It is also flown by the US Naval Test Pilot School and Royal Thai Army. In 2014, the Royal Thai Army acquired six UH-72A Lakota helicopters from Airbus Group through the US’s foreign military sales programme. India is currently getting ready to embark on a major LUH programme. –shp/kf/nz (Photo: Airbus)