Military

US Army Contracts Airbus for 35 Lakotas in the Wake of Court Controversy

By S.L. Fuller | March 9, 2018
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UH-72A Lakota

Airbus Helicopters UH-72A Lakota. Photo courtesy of Airbus

The U.S. Army is buying Airbus Helicopters UH-72As. The manufacturer said Friday it received a contract worth some $273 million, following years of controversy.

Last month, Leonardo said it had no intention of going back to court after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overruled a decision by the lower court, which had been a victory for Leonardo. The Italian manufacturer had challenged the Army’s ability to sole-source Lakotas from Airbus late 2015.

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The newest court ruling granted the Army permission to sole-source its helicopters, so now the service has put in an order for 35. The deal includes production aircraft, associated technical and flight operator manuals, and program management.

Airbus said the Army ordered two configurations: 17 UH-72As for the Initial Entry Rotary Wing mission at Fort Rucker, Alabama, and 18 for the observer/controller mission at the Army’s combat training centers.

The Lakota is built at Airbus’ facility in Columbus, Mississippi. Since the program began in 2005, the manufacturer has delivered more than 412, it said.

Airbus won the original Lakota contract in 2006. Valued at $43 million, the deal asked for eight low-rate initial production Lakotas. The contract also left options for up to 483 additional aircraft. Leonardo (AgustaWestland at the time) had also bid that contract.

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