Press release EADS North America nears the 25-delivery milestone for its UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter

U.S. Army takes on-time delivery of the 23rd and 24th aircraft

Arlington, Virginia, April 2, 2008 – The U.S. Army has taken delivery of 24 UH-72A Lakotas from EADS North America – all received on time, or ahead of schedule – as the new Light Utility Helicopter demonstrates its mission capabilities in operational service.

The UH-72A is produced at a modern helicopter center of excellence in Columbus, Mississippi, with full-rate production approval received in August of 2007.  The Lakotas delivered to date have been fielded, and are supported at three Army installations across the country: the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California; Fort Eustis, Virginia; and Fort Polk, Louisiana.    

The UH-72A has flown over 2,000 hours to date with over 90 percent full mission capable rate, and no operational missions have been lost due to aircraft availability.

EADS North America is ramping up to delivery rates of three aircraft per month as production continues to accelerate at the Mississippi facility. In addition to its current service with the U.S. Army, future Lakotas are slated for delivery to Army National Guard units beginning later this year, and overseas deployments are anticipated for U.S. Army units in Europe and Japan.

“Since being awarded the Light Utility Helicopter contract in June 2006, EADS North America has demonstrated its capability to respond to the Army’s needs – on time and in budget,” said EADS North America Chairman and CEO Ralph D. Crosby, Jr.  “The UH-72A program is one of the most rapid acquisitions in modern U.S. Army aviation history, and it underscores our commitment to meeting – and exceeding – the mission requirements of those who protect America and ensure its national security.  EADS North America also is meeting its industrial commitments to our customer, and meeting our obligations as a responsible corporate citizen for the state of Mississippi.”

The UH-72A’s Mississippi industrial site is one of the first new U.S. helicopter production facilities developed in decades, and is located adjacent to Columbus’ Golden Triangle Regional Airport.  It is a facility of EADS North America’s American Eurocopter business unit, and has the responsibility for manufacturing, assembling and delivering some of the most modern military and civilian rotary-wing aircraft available today. 

In addition to the UH-72A, helicopters built or upgraded by American Eurocopter in Columbus are operated by the U.S. Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, and law enforcement agencies throughout the nation.

The Columbus center will generate some 250 high-value jobs at peak production, which is stimulating the Mississippi economy, opening dynamic new ties between industry and the state’s educational institutions, and bringing technological capabilities to the region.  Indirect employment created by EADS North America’s helicopter production will also benefit Mississippi and surrounding states.


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. Operating 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.

• View the News archive.