Feature story UH-72A program excellence is spotlighted at the Lakota's 50th delivery

December 16, 2008

The UH-72A has been recognized for its role in supporting the modernization of U.S. Army aviation assets, with the 50th Light Utility Helicopter’s delivery today marking another on-time milestone for this rotary-wing aircraft program.

The UH-72A program was called “exceptional” by Lt. Col. James Brashear, the U.S. Army’s Light Utility Helicopter Product Manager, who underscored the strong partnership that has been formed between the service and the EADS North America-led industry team.

During a ceremony at the Lakota production facility in Columbus, Mississippi, the 50th and 51st UH-72As were provided by prime contractor EADS North America to the Army, which has assigned these two helicopters to the Eastern Army National Guard Aviation Training Site (EAATS) in Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania.

Lt. Col. James Brashear, the U.S. Army’s Light Utility Helicopter Product Manager, called the UH-72A program “exceptional,” noting all aircraft delivered by prime contractor EADS North America have been received by the Army on, or ahead of schedule. 

Brashear also highlighted the partnership that has been forged between the Army’s Light Utility Helicopter office and EADS North America since the UH-72A’s contract award in June 2006 – citing the “professionalism, integrity and honor” of the  company-led industrial team.

“The result of the Lakota partnership is a reputation within the Army aviation and acquisition community that is sterling,” he told attendees at today’s ceremony.  “We are seen as a program that is meeting all cost, schedule and performance metrics.”

More than 7,500 hours have been logged by the Army’s UH-72A fleet to date, and the helicopter’s fully mission capable rate exceeds 92 percent, Brashear added.  The Lakota is now in service at bases and facilities across the nation, including the EAATS in Pennsylvania; Fort Eustis, Virginia; Fort Polk, Louisiana; Fort Irwin, California; Jacksonville, Florida; Morrisville, North Carolina; Pineville, Louisiana; Tupelo, Mississippi and West Point, New York.

“This aircraft is important to the homeland defense of America,” Brashear said.  “This past summer, Army National Guard units from Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida flew more than 200 hours in support of the emergency response associated with Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.”

David Haines, EADS North America’s Vice President of Rotorcraft Programs, pledged the company’s sustained commitment to the UH-72A program, which foresees the Army’s acquisition of 345 Lakotas through 2016.

“Today’s delivery represents excellence in manufacturing and rapid fielding, and above all, it represents a dedication and a sense of duty we all have as Americans to provide our warfighters with the very best equipment to accomplish the mission, and win,” Haines said.

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