UH-72A Lakotas to be upgraded for security and support battalion missions by EADS North America

COLUMBUS, Miss., 9 Oct. 2010. The U.S. Army awarded EADS North America a $152 million contract to equip UH-72 Lakota helicopters for security and support battalion missions. The system improvements will be outfitted on UH-72As deployed throughout the U.S. where the Army National Guard Lakota aircraft are stationed. The packages expand the Lakota's use in reconnaissance, border protection, command and control, and air movement operations that support U.S. homeland defense and security missions.

Oct 9th, 2010
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Posted by John McHale

COLUMBUS, Miss., 9 Oct. 2010. The U.S. Army awarded EADS North America a $152 million contract to equip UH-72 Lakota helicopters for security and support battalion missions. The system improvements will be outfitted on UH-72As deployed throughout the U.S. where the Army National Guard Lakota aircraft are stationed. The packages expand the Lakota's use in reconnaissance, border protection, command and control, and air movement operations that support U.S. homeland defense and security missions.

The UH-72A security and support battalion configuration includes a forward centerline-mounted camera system with electro-optical and infrared sensors and laser pointer, a 30 million candlepower searchlight, operator console, cockpit and cabin touch-screen displays with moving map, a video management system, a digital video recorder and data downlink system, plus an external hoist and additional avionics and communications equipment. Located throughout the U.S., the U.S. Army National Guard security and support battalions provide a dispersed, readily available, light aviation capability for military missions and operations in support of civil authorities. These units currently operate aging Vietnam-era rotary-wing aircraft, which will be replaced by the UH-72A.

"This contract underscores EADS North America's ability to integrate complex mission systems that meet our warfighters' needs," says Ralph D. Crosby, Jr., EADS North America chairman "It also marks a new milestone in the evolution of the UH-72A, as this capable helicopter is given increasingly diverse operational duties with the U.S. Army. Supporting the security and support mission is further evidence of our industry team's commitment to delivering state-of-the art products that enable the Army to meet today’s demanding missions."

Deliveries of UH-72As with the security and support Battalion Mission Equipment Package are scheduled to begin in 2011. The contract announcement covers EADS North America's supply of an initial 36 MEPs, with the U.S. Army expected to ultimately acquire systems to outfit a total of 99 Lakota helicopters.

The UH-72A is produced in Columbus, Miss., by the American Eurocopter operating unit of EADS North America, which built a dedicated assembly line for the Light Utility Helicopter. A systems integration facility was created at this site to manage the development of UH-72A's Mission Equipment Package for the Army National Guard security and support battalion configuration.

A total of 345 UH-72As are planned for acquisition by the U.S. Army through 2015, which includes the versions outfitted for operation by the security and support battalions.

To date, EADS North America has delivered a total of 134 UH-72As. These aircraft are being used in missions across the U.S and Puerto Rico that include medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), search and rescue, drug interdiction, VIP transport, and general aviation support.

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