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Wed, May 15, 2013

EADS Says U.S. Army Will Stop Buying Lakotas

Cites Sequester As The Reason That The Program Is Ending

The chairman and CEO of EADS has written an op-ed piece that criticizes sequestration for bringing the Lakota helicopter program to an end. "The Army has decided it's time to end this record of accomplishment next year," wrote Sean O'Keefe in an opinion piece appearing on the Defense News website.

O'Keefe said that the UH-72 Lakota is built by a skilled workforce which includes many U.S. veterans in Columbus, MS. He said the sequester would "slash its most successful helicopter program."

The French news service AFP reports that O'Keefe said that the Army is looking to buy more Black Hawk helicopters, built by rival Sikorsky, or re-purposing Black Hawks that return from Afghanistan to fill the missions currently assigned to the Lakotas. He added that winding down the Lakota program puts Eurocopter at a disadvantage in any future competition for a new Armed Aerial Scout helicopter. Eurocopter hopes to be able to compete to build the replacement for the Vietnam-era OH-58 Kiowa Warrior, but that replacement program has been pushed back several times by the Army, with the most recent delay coming this month.

The Army reportedly had no immediate comment on the article.

(Lakota image from file)

FMI: www.army.mil, www.eads.com

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