Press release EADS North America increases its UH-72A Lakota Helicopter delivery rate to two aircraft per month for the U.S. Army

Helicopters Delivered from the New LUH Production Facility

Arlington, Virginia , October 8, 2007 – EADS North America marked another milestone for the UH-72A Light Utility Helicopter program by supplying a pair of its rotary-wing aircraft to the U.S. Army in September – the first time two Lakotas have been delivered during a single month.

Both UH-72As were accepted at the newly-expanded Lakota production center in Columbus, Mississippi, which is operated by the American Eurocopter business unit of EADS North America. 

These are the 11th and 12th UH-72As received by the Army since deliveries of the Light Utility Helicopter began in December 2006 at the rate of one per month.   They also are the second and third “made in America” Lakotas, which are certified under U.S. production authority recently issued by the Federal Aviation Administration for American Eurocopter’s UH-72A/EC145 helicopters.

“This milestone is all about meeting our company’s promises to the U.S. Army and to the country,” said EADS North America Chairman and CEO Ralph D. Crosby, Jr.  “We are maintaining on-time deliveries of a helicopter that is vital to the Army’s rotary-wing fleet modernization, and we continue to bring high-value jobs to America with our expanded state-of-the-art production center in Mississippi.”

Up to 322 Lakotas will be acquired by the Army for use within the United States on homeland security operations, for medical evacuation, passenger/logistics transportation and drug interdiction missions.  Delivery rate for the UH-72A will increase to three monthly in early 2008, ultimately rising to as many as five per month in 2009.

To accommodate the ramp-up of UH-72A industrial activity, American Eurocopter’s Columbus factory has grown to a total covered area of 325,000 sq. ft., encompassing a Lakota assembly hall, flight line, paint shop, warehouse, administrative offices, flight operations and flight test engineering.  Its workforce is building up to approximately 350 employees, of which 200 will be directly involved in UH-72A activity – while the others will be involved in various American Eurocopter helicopter programs.

Inaugurated in 2004 at the Golden Triangle Regional Airport, this facility began operations with a staff of 44 persons and an initial 92,000 sq. feet of facilities for helicopter assembly, parts manufacturing and administrative offices.

Lakotas 11 and 12 were received by the Army on September 26th and 27th respectively and will be assigned to its Joint Readiness Training Center at Ft. Polk, Louisiana.  They join another Lakota previously delivered to this training center.  All of the aircraft are configured for transport and support missions. 

Other UH-72As are performing VIP airlift and transport duties at Ft. Eustis/Ft. Monroe in Virginia’s Hampton Roads region.  The first Army unit equipped with Lakotas was the National Training Center Air Ambulance Detachment at Ft. Irwin, California, where UH-72As are outfitted for medical evacuation with litters and an externally-mounted rescue hoist.


About EADS North America (
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.

• View the News archive.