ARLINGTON, Va., 7 Nov. 2011. Mississippi National Guard, Company C, 1st of the 114th Security and Support Battalion personnel are among the first to employ EADS North America’s UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) equipped with the Security and Support (S&S) Battalion Mission Equipment Package (MEP). The MEP includes: an electro-opticalinfrared sensor with a five-mile range that provides still imagery and real-time streaming video to ground stations or command centers, an onboard computer that archives the footage for use by law enforcement, enhanced radios, touch-screen monitors, GPS, and a 30 million candle power search light.
The S&S Battalion MEP, the latest operational evolution of the UH-72A Lakota, provides National Guard units with the ability to interface with and support federal, state, and local law enforcement and first responders during disasters or emergencies.
Engineers in the EADS American Eurocopter business unit in Columbus, Miss., built and retrofitted the S&S Battalion UH-72A Lakota.
"This new configuration provides a significant capability increase for the Army National Guard and the federal, state, and local government agencies they support," says Sean O'Keefe, CEO of EADS North America. "The S&S Battalion MEP expands the capabilities of the Army's UH-72A Lakota, and further demonstrates this modern platform's flexibility for growth to support a broader range of demanding mission requirements."
Army National Guard units across the U.S. will operate Lakotas equipped with the S&S Battalion MEP. Fifty-two of 68 S&S Lakotas on contract will be built with the MEP integrated during production, and 16 Lakotas already in service with the Army National Guard will be retrofitted at the company's American Eurocopter facility in Columbus, Miss. The S&S MEP prototype was delivered and fielded to the National Guard unit in Tupelo, Miss.
U.S. Army personnel are using UH-72A Lakotas in multiple configurations to fulfill a range of missions, including medical evacuation, search and rescue operations, homeland security, VIP transport, disaster response and relief, general aviation support, combat flight training, and pilot sustainment training.