Feature story The UH-72A Lakota arrives in Germany to support Army training

April 29, 2010

The U.S. Army deployed five UH-72A Lakota aircraft in a milestone airlift to Germany for training and support operations.

The aircraft arrived at the U.S. Army’s Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) in Hohenfels on April 22 with duty at the Combat Training Center.  The trans-Atlantic airlift – performed by a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III – marked the first direct long-haul overseas transfer of Lakotas, and demonstrated the global mobility of this EADS North America helicopter.

The C-17 Globemaster left from Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, which is located near the Lakota production facility at Columbus’ Golden Triangle Regional Airport.  This production facility is the prime manufacturing location of the Light Utility Helicopters, operated by EADS North America’s American Eurocopter business unit. 

Program officials said the Lakota’s design facilitates its loading and unloading on the C-17.  The helicopter’s compact airframe allows five of the aircraft to fit in the Globemaster’s cargo bay with minimal disassembly.

The Air Force delivered the five UH-72As to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, where these helicopters were reassembled and readied for crew pick-up.  This reassembly process was completed in a matter of hours and required no subsequent maintenance test flights – qualities which make the Lakota a highly deployable aircraft.

The JMRC Combat Training Center’s five Lakotas will support pilot training for combat engagements, and also will carry observers of war game scenarios performed against “aggressor” aircraft.  They will be outfitted with a mission equipment package that includes a Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES), a SMart On-Board Data Interface Module (SMODIM), and an electronic data manager.

The UH-72As are replacing an aging fleet of Vietnam-era UH-1s, offering more advanced navigation and communications systems, along with increased performance.   They will be joined by another five Lakotas that are scheduled for delivery to the JMRC in January 2011.

Additional overseas deployments by the U.S. Army will include this summer’s shipment of four Lakotas from the U.S. for basing at the Pacific Ocean’s Kwajalein Atoll. These helicopters will be used for transport and support duties at the U.S. Army’s missile test range there.


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