Press release EADS North America ramps-up its production and deliveries of the U.S. Army’s UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter

First three aircraft delivered to the Army ahead of schedule

Arlington, Virginia, February 6, 2007 – EADS North America is moving the UH-72A program into full swing for the U.S. Army, with deliveries of 16 Light Utility Helicopters scheduled for 2007 from the production facility of its American Eurocopter business unit in Columbus, Mississippi. EADS North America has provided three UH-72A Lakota aircraft to the Army since contract award in June 2006.

The initial two UH-72A Lakotas were delivered in 2006, over three months ahead of schedule on November 29 and December 20, respectively. The company is keeping up the pace in 2007, with the third UH-72A Lakota delivered nearly three months ahead of schedule on January 30. These first three UH-72As will be assigned to the service’s National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California where the U.S. Army will conduct Initial Operational Testing.

To date, the Army has ordered a total of 42 UH-72As from EADS North America, along with the associated training services for pilots and maintenance personnel, external hoist kits, and MEDEVAC “B-kits.” In addition to the initial three aircraft already delivered by EADS North America, 10 more Lakotas currently are on the production line.

Ralph D. Crosby, Jr., EADS North America’s Chairman & CEO, noted the importance of fulfilling the Lakota contract’s delivery and quality commitments for the Army – which is the world’s largest helicopter operator. “We are investing in the future of our workforce, in American know-how and in meeting our promise to exceed our customer’s expectations,” Crosby said. “And this investment is paying off. We are very proud of the fact that the first Lakotas are being delivered mission-ready, and ahead of schedule.”

The Army has a requirement for up to 322 UH-72As in a 10 year program with a total life-cycle value of over $2 billion. This contract expands EADS North America’s 20-year heritage as a supplier to U.S. homeland security and law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Drug Enforcement Agency, FBI, and numerous state and local law enforcement agencies across the United States.

UH-72As will be operated primarily within the U.S. for homeland security operations, medical evacuation, passenger/logistics transportation and drug interdiction missions. Many of them will be assigned to Army National Guard units in locations throughout the country, allowing older-generation helicopters to be retired and freeing up larger rotary-wing aircraft for assignment to other duties – including deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan.

To accommodate the UH-72A industrial activity, American Eurocopter’s Mississippi factory at Golden Triangle Regional Airport near Columbus is being expanded to a total covered area of 325,000 sq. ft, and its workforce will grow to approximately 330 employees. Two new buildings will be constructed, creating additional area to accommodate the Lakota’s assembly hall, flight line and storage area, paint shop, warehouse, administrative offices, flight operations and flight test engineering.

The Columbus facility was inaugurated in 2004 with a staff of 44 persons and an initial 92,000-sq. feet of facilities for helicopter assembly and administrative offices. Along with the current expansion, American Eurocopter is working with the East Mississippi Community College to establish training courses in the fields of electrical/avionics, sheet metal and mechanics – which will help provide additional skilled workers from the local region as the company looks to fill job openings over the long term.

In addition to the UH-72A program, activity at American Eurocopter’s Mississippi factory includes production/assembly/customization of AS350 and EC120 helicopters for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other government/law enforcement agencies in North America, as well as support for the U.S. Coast Guard’s modernization of its HH-65 Dolphin helicopter fleet. For additional information on the UH-72A, see the program’s official website at

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