In line with the Department of the Army’s FY13 budget of $271,683 million for the ongoing delivery of the UH-72A Lakota program, EADS North America has confirmed a contract award of $181.8 million for a further 34 helicopters. These will be delivered from September 2013 and will mean a total contract award of 312 Lakotas out of a total of 347 planned up to 2016.
Currently around five aircraft per month are produced from the American Eurocopter plant in Columbus, Miss. EADS North America suggests that the same facility would be used to build its AAS-72X for the Armed Aerial Scout acquisition, should its future bid be successful.
Twenty-four of the aircraft built under this latest contract award will receive the security and support (S&S) battalion mission equipment package (MEP). Aircraft so equipped will be earmarked for missions ranging from disaster response to border security. The MEP includes a moving map, EO/IR sensor, digital video recording capability, digital and analog downlink and a searchlight. The UH-72A is a militarized version of Eurocopter’s EC145 and provides the Army with organic support at Corp and Divisional levels. It replaces UH-1 and OH-58 helicopters. —By Andrew Drwiega