Army orders 15 new UH-72 Lakota light military helicopters and radios from Airbus in $122.7 million deal

March 4, 2020
The UH-72A Lakota is for the U.S. Army, National Guard, and Navy for missions ranging from disaster response and border patrol to pilot training.

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – U.S. Army aviation experts are ordering 15 new UH-72 Lakota light military helicopters with airborne radios under terms of a $122.7 million order announced Monday to Airbus Helicopters Inc. in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Officials of the Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., are awarding the contract modification. The order involves new UH-72A helicopters with Raytheon AN/ARC-231 Airborne Communication System radios.

The UH-72A Lakota, built in Columbus, Miss., has been designed for the U.S. Army, National Guard, and Navy for missions ranging from disaster response and border patrol to pilot training.

The UH-72 Lakota is a twin-engine helicopter with a four-bladed main rotor, and is a militarized version of the EC145 rotorcraft. The helicopter was selected as the winner of the Army's Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) program in 2006, to replace aging UH-1H/V and OH-58A/C helicopters in the Army and Army National Guard fleets.

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Seating capacity of the military Lakota is for two pilots and six passengers. Two stretchers can be installed for MEDEVAC missions with a crew of four: pilot, co-pilot and two medics.

The Raytheon AN/ARC-231 Skyfire multimode airborne communications system is a VHF and UHF line-of-sight avionics radio and satellite communications (SATCOM) system for the UH-72, as well as for MH-60L/M and UH-60L/M Black Hawk helicopters, AH-64 Apache helicopter gunships, the Rivet Joint surveillance aircraft, and the Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System (Joint-STARS) aircraft.

The ARC-231 avionics radio operates from 30 to 512 MHz, has frequency-agile modes for electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM), demand assigned multiple access (DAMA), integrated waveform (IW), and air traffic control (ATC) channel spacing selectable in 5, 8.33, 12.5, and 25 kHz steps.

The aircraft radio has embedded encryption, as well as SINCGARS and HAVE QUICK I and II frequency agile modes. UHF SATCOM and DAMA protocols provide beyond-line-of-sight SATCOM, with IP networking. The ARC-231 is a software definable radio with upgrades available via PC-based software downloads.

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Lakota helicopters have night vision goggle-compatible glass cockpits. Its vehicle and engine management display (VEMD) increases situational awareness and reduces pilot workload.

The Lakota helicopter is 33.4 feet long, 11.3 feet high, and 5.7 feet wide, with a 36.1-foot main rotor. It can lift nearly 4,000 pounds, fly as fast as 145 knots at altitudes to 11,300 feet above sea level. The rotorcraft can hover safely at 9,000 feet.

On this contract Airbus Helicopters will do the work in Columbus, Miss., and should be finished by August 2022. For more information contact Airbus Helicopters online at, or the Army Contracting Command-Redstone

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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