EADS North America said it has started deliveries to U.S. Army National Guard units of the UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopter fitted with special-mission package.
The Security and Support (S&S) Battalion mission equipment package (MEP) consists of an electro-optical/infrared sensor, searchlight, video downlink, onboard recorder and video management system, rear observer’s console with 15-inch display, enhanced tactical communications suite and pilots’ 10.4-inch auxiliary displays. “These S&S Battalion Lakotas provide our Army National Guard units with the ability to respond effectively at a moment’s notice to a wide range of operational assignments, including natural disasters, search-and-rescue operations, border protection missions and law enforcement support,” said Sean O’Keefe, EADS North America CEO.
The company said it expects to supply 99 S&S Battalion MEP installations, 68 of which are on contract. Fifty-two of those Lakotas will be built with the mission package installed during production; 16 National Guard helicopters already operating will be retrofitted at the company’s American Eurocopter facility in Columbus, Miss.
EADS North America has delivered 190 of the EC145 derivatives to the U.S. military since 2007, including five for the U.S. Navy test pilot school. The Army’s light utility helicopter requirement is for 345 aircraft through 2015, 237 of which have been ordered. An armed version of the Lakota, designated AAS-72X, is proposed for the Army’s armed aerial scout requirement to replace the aging OH-58D Kiowa Warrior.