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US Army National Guard receives first of 18 UH-72B helicopters

They will support the critical missions of the terrestrial component of the National Guard

Airbus Helicopters has announced the delivery of the first UH-72B, the latest variant of its Lakota, to the US Army National Guard from its production facility in Columbus, Mississippi. This delivery is the first of 18 UH-72B Lakota helicopters currently on order to support the National Guard’s critical missions. “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", said Col. Calvin Lane, US Army Project Manager for Utility Helicopters. “The Lakota 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 & 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 since the first Lakota contract award in 2006. The Army is leveraging the benefits of a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) program by receiving product improvements and enhancements through the evolution of the aircraft, without investing any government money into the development of those capabilities.

Based on the widely successful H-145, 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 Helionix suite includes an advanced dual-duplex, four-axis autopilot to provide flight envelope and over-limit protection, automated takeoff, and fully-coupled approaches to hover. 

With nearly 10 different configurations available, the Lakota has built by Airbus Helicopters at its production facility in Columbus, Mississippi, which employs a workforce of nearly 250 employees that is made up of 40% US veterans. Satisfaction for this delivery has been expressed by Scott Tumpak, Vice-President of the military helicopter programs of Airbus in the USA. 

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency