The US Army has awarded Airbus a $27.8 million contract to upgrade 50 UH-72A Lakota avionics to expand the helicopter’s capabilities to conduct day and night operations by providing an advanced moving map, enhanced digital interfaces, new monitors, an airborne mission management system and other system improvements.
“This award provides pilots with significantly increased functionality and capability to carry out today’s demanding missions, further enhancing the Lakota’s value as an ISR asset for the National Guard.” said Scott Tumpak, Vice President of Military Line of Business for Airbus US Space and Defense.
The upgrades involve the Army National Guard Security & Support Battalion Mission Equipment Package (MEP). MEP equipped UH-72As are specifically designed to execute National Guard operations across a range of missions including domestic operations, counter-drug and border security.
The Army contract will retrofit up to 50 Security & Support Battalion aircraft deployed throughout the United States. There are currently 107 in the fleet.
These aircraft will be modified at Airbus’ Columbus, Mississippi helicopter production facility, where more than 480 UH-72A and UH-72B Lakota, based on the H145, have been delivered to the US Army since 2006.
The contract will be managed by Airbus US Space & Defense. Operating under a Special Security Agreement, Airbus US Space & Defense, Inc. offers world-class satellite, laser communication, rotor, and fixed wing solutions to meet the most complex US defence, security, space, and intelligence requirements.
In Southeast Asia, the Royal Thai Army currently operates five US-made UH-72A Lakotas ordered through the US Foreign Military Sales programme in 2014 and it was later reported that the RTA wanted to procure 15 more of the helicopters including armed versions. –ab/adj/mgm (Image: Airbus / RTA)