COLUMBUS, Miss. (WTVA) -- The U.S. Army has fielded the 250th UH-72A Lakota helicopter delivered to Army and National Guard units by EADS North America since 2006.
Every Lakota, including an additional five produced for the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, has been delivered on time and on budget, by an American workforce that is more than 50 percent U.S. military veterans.
The combined Lakota fleet’s operations have now exceeded 150,000 flight hours, while maintaining greater than 90 percent availability.
The Lakota is the Army’s newest helicopter, with the lowest cost to fly, own and operate of any U.S. military helicopter in production.
The Lakota is manufactured at EADS North America’s American Eurocopter facility in Columbus, in Lowndes County.
“In today’s budget environment, the Pentagon needs programs that deliver what’s been promised, and we’re proud to have worked with the Army to field this capability unfailingly on schedule and on cost,” said Sean O’Keefe, EADS North America Chairman and CEO.
Army Lt. Col. David Cheney, the UH-72A Product Manager, stated, “The UH-72A Lakota helicopter program continues on schedule, within budget and is serving the Soldier very well. The success of this aircraft and program is a testament to EADS North America's team's determination to provide the best support for the Army and homeland security missions.”
The 250th Army Lakota will be operated out of Oklahoma City by the Oklahoma National Guard.
It is the latest of 54 Lakotas delivered with the Security and Support (S&S) Battalion mission equipment package, which expands the Lakota’s capabilities for missions ranging from disaster response to border security operations.
The S&S configuration includes a moving map, EO/IR sensor, digital video recording capability, digital and analog downlink, and a searchlight.
Army National Guard units across the country currently operate Lakotas equipped with the S&S Battalion MEP, including extensive operations along the U.S. southwest border for border security and drug interdiction.
A combination of full contractor logistics support (CLS) for the active Army and hybrid CLS for the Army National Guard enables the units to operate the Lakota in accordance with their flying hour plan.
The Army program office, military units, and the industry team of EADS North America, American Eurocopter and Helicopter Support International has provided tailored program logistics to the Army and Army National Guard since 2006.