Airbus Helicopters will begin delivery of the UH-72B to the U.S. Army next year, the company announced this week. The updated helicopter replaces the tailrotor on the UH-72A Lakota with a Fenestron and has other features similar to those on the civil H145 variant. Those include more powerful engines, enhanced controls, and the Airbus Helionix avionics suite.
Deliveries of the UH-72B begin with this year’s orders for an additional 17 aircraft under the Army’s light utility helicopter (LUH) program, adding to a contract first awarded in 2006. Airbus has delivered more than 460 UH-72A Lakota helicopters in nine configurations to the U.S. Army, Navy, and National Guard, with the 463rd and final UH-72A model slated for delivery in September.
Airbus manufactures the Lakota at its production facility in Columbus, Mississippi. Over the last 14 years, the Army and National Guard have amassed nearly 800,000 total flight hours on the UH-72A. It is the primary rotary-wing training aircraft for the Army, flies search and rescue, disaster relief, counter-drug, and medevac operations.