The US Army has awarded a $65.8 million contract for the supply of 12 additional UH-72 Lakotas to Airbus Helicopters.
The contract includes associated mission equipment packages. The 12 aircraft on this latest contract option will be delivered starting in August of 2017, configured for the Army as initial entry rotary-wing trainers, Airbus said in a statement Thursday.
This year the Army has fielded more than 50 Lakotas to Fort Rucker, Alabama, in preparation for the UH-72A’s formal introduction into the training curriculum by early 2016. The army plans call for an initial-entry rotary wing training fleet of 187 Lakotas, made up of a mix of new deliveries and already in-service aircraft reconfigured for the training mission.
The Lakota continues to meet a wide range of needs for several military user communities. The US Navy operates the Lakota in a training role at the US Naval Test Pilot School and the Army National Guard units operating specially equipped Lakotas are deployed supporting Customs and Border Protection missions along the US southwest border.
The Royal Thai Army is the first allied operator of the UH-72A, having purchased six aircraft to date through the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sales program.
A modern, twin-engine helicopter, the UH-72A is a powerful, stable, and agile platform with a glass cockpit that is compatible with night vision goggles. The Lakota is also single-pilot Instrument Flight Rules certified.