Delivery Ceremony Draws Hundreds Of Attendees To The Crazy
The first of six UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopters (LUH)
was delivered to the South Dakota Army National Guard Sunday during
a delivery ceremony at the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota's
Black Hills. Of the six Lakota helicopters on order with the South
Dakota Army National Guard, four will be delivered in the Medical
Evacuation (MEDEVAC) configuration and two in the Security and
Support (S&S) Battalion configuration.
"These new aviation assets will better allow us to respond the
needs of the state and federal mission," said U.S. Army National
Guard Lt. Col. Mike Snow, South Dakota's State Army Aviation
Officer. "These new Lakota helicopters enhance the unit's ability
to respond to a wide range of missions when called upon."
EADS North America has delivered 167 Lakota helicopters since
2006. They are operating from 31 basing locations in the
continental U.S., Puerto Rico, Germany and the Pacific Ocean's
Kwajalein Atoll following the establishment of 10 new fielding
sites in 2010. The Army UH-72A fleet has surpassed the 60,000
flight hour milestone in April.
Five Lakotas for the U.S. Navy - which are designated the H-72A
- have been assigned to the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at
Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md. for the training of test
pilots from the U.S. military and allied countries. The Navy has
accumulated more than 1,000 flight hours and is currently
integrating a training-specific instrument package into its first
H-72A with engineering support provided by American Eurocopter.
The U.S. Army is using its Lakotas in multiple configurations
for medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) missions, search and rescue
duties, border patrols along the U.S./Mexican border, VIP
transport, general aviation support and in combat flight training
at the service's Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) in
Hohenfels, Germany, the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at
Ft. Polk, La., and soon at the National Training Center, Ft. Irwin,
Operational missions have included oil spill monitoring and
response flights along the U.S. Gulf Coast after the 2010 Operation
Deepwater Horizon oil spill, as well as disaster response following
the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Lakotas have also been used
in successful rescue operations in California and Arkansas.
Currently four Lakotas from the D.C. Army National Guard, located
at Ft. Belvoir, are deployed in Germany for a year to support
MEDEVAC missions for U.S. Army Europe command.
EADS North America and American Eurocopter engineers continue to
integrate additional mission equipment packages (MEPs) on the
UH-72A, achieving FAA certification for the Combat Training Center
(CTC) MEP in 2010. Efforts continue on additional MEP integration,
including a MEP for the Army National Guard's Security and Support
(S&S) Battalion missions.
The 2010 production rate for Lakotas at American Eurocopter's
Columbus facility was 53 aircraft and is scheduled to remain at 53