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Press release EADS North America completes a strong year of achievement for the U.S. Army's UH-72A Light Utility Helicopter
UH-72A achieves all key program milestones; EADS-NA delivers LUHs ahead of schedule
Arlington, Virginia, December 11, 2007 – EADS North America's UH-72A Lakota program has completed a highly successful year, making on-time or ahead-of-schedule deliveries of 16 operationally-ready Light Utility Helicopters for deployment with U.S. Army units across the country.
During the past 12 months, the LUH program has achieved all of the Light Utility Helicopter Program's targeted milestones - including full-rate production authorization from the Army, the issuance of FAA production certification authority for U.S.-built UH-72As, and the Lakota's service introduction with Army units.
"EADS North America has clearly demonstrated its ability to manage and execute large-scale programs that are vital to the defense and protection of the United States," said EADS North America Chairman and CEO Ralph D. Crosby, Jr. "We are pleased the UH-72A has become a benchmark for well-managed military aircraft acquisitions. Our entire program team is dedicated to meeting - and exceeding - the Army's requirements for this newest member of its rotary-wing fleet."
The Army took delivery of its first UH-72A Lakota in November 2006 and EADS North America has ramped up the delivery pace in order to continually meet the requirements of the U.S. Army. Current production rates are two helicopters per month and is scheduled to increase to three Lakota's monthly in the first quarter of 2008.
Fielding of the initial UH-72As occurred in record time, with the first operational unit being equipped with Lakotas less than 11 months after EADS North America received the contract award in June 2006. The go-ahead for full rate production, granted in August 2007, was one of the most rapid in modern Army aviation acquisition history, confirming EADS North America's ability to produce, deliver and support the UH-72A throughout the entire operational service of this vital helicopter program.
UH-72As have averaged over 90 percent Full Mission Capability rate for the aircraft delivered to date. Up to 345 UH-72As will be acquired by the Army for homeland security operations, medical evacuation, passenger/logistics transportation and drug interdiction missions.
Lakotas currently are in service for transportation, VIP and support missions with the Army's Joint Readiness Training Center at Ft. Polk, Louisiana, and with the TRADOC Flight Detachment at Ft. Eustis/Ft. Monroe in Virginia's Hampton Roads region. Additionally, UH-72As equipped for medical evacuation with litters and an external rescue hoist are flown by the National Training Center Air Ambulance Detachment at Ft. Irwin, California - which was the Army's first unit equipped with the new Light Utility Helicopter.
Deliveries of the UH-72A are performed from a new assembly and production facility at the Columbus, Mississippi plant of American Eurocopter, an EADS North America business unit. This 314,500-sq.-ft. facility includes the assembly hall, flight line, paint shop, warehouse, administrative offices, flight operations and flight test engineering.
Over 150 skilled jobs have been created in the Golden Triangle region of Mississippi by American Eurocopter helicopter activity, including the UH-72A program, underscoring EADS North America's ability to create high-value employment with its U.S. industrial presence.
At the peak of UH-72A production, total employment at the American Eurocopter facility on Columbus' Golden Triangle Regional Airport will grow to as many as 350. Inaugurated in 2004, this facility originally 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.
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 31 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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