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Program overview

Airbus Group’s UH-72A Lakota serves as a key element in the military service’s modernization of its aviation assets – providing a highly capable helicopter for missions that include homeland security, drug interdiction, general support, logistics and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC).

Additionally, the UH-72A’s introduction with U.S. Army and National Guard units throughout the United States and overseas is freeing up other rotary-wing assets for deployment to Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Program prime contractor Airbus Group, Inc. (formerly EADS North America) won the Lakota contract on June 30, 2006, and it officially delivered the U.S. Army’s first UH-72A on December 11 of the same year – three months ahead of schedule. The first operational U.S. Army unit was equipped within 11 months of the Lakota contract award, making this one of the most rapid introductions of a new aircraft in the service’s history.

As of February 2015, Airbus Group, Inc. had delivered more than 330 Lakotas – all on time and on budget – from the Airbus Helicopters, Inc. facility in Columbus, Mississippi, where up to five aircraft per month are produced by a workforce that is more than 50 percent U.S. military veterans. This delivery performance maintains the Lakota’s position as one of the U.S. Army’s most successful acquisition programs – which is repeatedly noted by Defense Department officials for its on-time and on-budget deliveries.

UH-72A Lakotas are operating from basing locations across the continental U.S., as well as in Puerto Rico, Germany and the Pacific Ocean’s Kwajalein Atoll. These helicopters are used in multiple configurations for medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) missions; search and rescue operations; border patrols along the U.S./Mexico border; VIP transport; general aviation support; and in combat flight training at the service’s Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) in Hohenfels, Germany, the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Ft. Polk, Louisiana, and the National Training Center, Ft. Irwin, California.

Airbus Group and Airbus Helicopters engineers have expanded the mission equipment packages (MEPs) on the UH-72A, achieving FAA certification for the Combat Training Center (CTC) MEP in 2010, while the comprehensive MEP package for Army National Guard Security and Support (S&S) Battalion missions entered operational service in 2011.

In addition to the Army Lakotas, the U.S. Navy has received five H-72A versions for training of test pilots from the U.S. military and allied countries.

Airbus Group has in-sourced the UH-72A’s production to the United States, creating jobs and bringing high-value business activity to a new helicopter center of excellence at Columbus, Mississippi. Lakota production is handled by Airbus Helicopters, Inc., which is a leading supplier of helicopters in the U.S. market.

As part of Airbus Group’s commitment to the U.S. Army, Airbus Helicopters, Inc. has created its dedicated assembly line for UH-72As at Columbus, and successfully completed the on-time in-sourcing of its full production activity from Germany in 2010 to this 220,000-sq.-ft. state-of-the-art facility adjacent to the Golden Triangle Regional Airport.