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Press release U. S. Army UH-72A Lakota receives full-rate production authorization
EADS North America increasing production rate in September
Arlington, Virginia; Huntsville, Alabama, September 4, 2007 – The U.S. Army has approved full-rate production of EADS North America’s UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter, clearing the way for continued acquisition of the program’s total requirement of 322 aircraft.
This milestone was achieved on August 23, 2007, following an Army review of program management, production, manpower, logistics and other aspects of the UH-72A program – validating EADS North America’s capability to meet the service’s delivery, quality and support requirements.
“Full-rate production approval underscores our ability to transition production, manufacture, deliver and support the UH-72A throughout the entire operational service of this vital U.S. Army aviation program,” said EADS North America Chairman and CEO Ralph D. Crosby, Jr. “It is a validation of the efforts and expertise of the entire UH-72A program team, ensuring that we meet – or exceed – the Army’s requirements for its newest helicopter in operational service.”
The Army has ordered 42 UH-72As to date, which was the maximum amount authorized under low-rate production authority. EADS North America was awarded the Light Utility Helicopter program contract in June 2006 and to date, the company has delivered 10 UH-72As, all of which have been delivered ahead of schedule.
Since the first delivery in November 2006, EADS North America has provided UH-72As to the Army at the rate of one aircraft per month. This will increase to two per month in September, ultimately reaching as many as five per month in 2009.
UH-72As will be used primarily within the United States for homeland security operations, medical evacuation, passenger/logistics transportation and drug interdiction missions. A significant percentage of the UH-72As will be delivered directly to Army National Guard units 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.
Total life-cycle value of the UH-72A program is over $2 billion, with the helicopters being supplied to the Army over a 10-year period.
The first U.S. Army unit equipped with UH-72As was National Training Center’s Air Ambulance Detachment at Ft. Irwin, California, which operates the aircraft in a MEDEVAC configuration with external hoist. These six Lakotas were fielded to Ft. Irwin less than 11 months after contract award, marking one of the most rapid introductions of a new aircraft in the U.S. Army’s history. Since then, UH-72As also have been delivered to Ft. Eustis/Ft. Monroe in Virginia’s Hampton Roads region, in a VIP transportation, general support and airlift/logistic configuration.
The UH-72A is delivered at EADS North America’s American Eurocopter business unit at Columbus, Mississippi, where a major facility expansion to accommodate a higher rate production of the UH-72A is nearing completion. The new facilities will house the Lakota’s assembly hall, flight line and storage area, paint shop, warehouse, administrative offices, flight operations and flight test engineering.
About EADS North America (www.eadsnorthamerica.com)
EADS North America is the North American operations of EADS, the second largest aerospace and defense company in the world. As a leader in all sectors of defense and homeland security, EADS North America and its parent company, EADS, contribute over $10 billion to the U.S. economy annually and support more than 190,000 American jobs through its network of suppliers and services. With 12 operating companies located in 30 cities and 17 states, EADS North America offers a broad array of advanced solutions to its customers in the commercial, homeland security, aerospace and defense markets.
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