UH-72 Lakota Light Helicopter Lands Airbus in US Defense Market
January 8/18: Future Orders The US Army began a process on Thursday to award Airbus a contract for 35 additional UH-72 Lakota helicopters. In a “sources sought” notice published by the Army’s utility helicopter project management office, the service did mention that as Airbus owns the technical data to the helicopter, any potential competitor would have to acquire the data from the OEM to build the twin-engined aircraft. 400 UH-72s have been delivered by Airbus to the Army since 2006, with units assembled at a factory in Columbus, Mississippi, after major components are built in Europe. The army’s approved budget in Fiscal 2017 contains funds to buy 23 UH-72As, so up to another 12 could be purchased later, thus guaranteeing jobs at the factory for future after concerns were raised by staff before the new year.
DID’s FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record. This is DID’s FOCUS Article regarding the US Army’s Light Utility Helicopter program, covering the program and its objectives, the winning bid team and industrial arrangements, and contracts.
The US Army’s LUH program will finish as a 325 helicopter acquisition program that will be worth about $2.3 billion when all is said and done. It aimed to replace existing UH-1 Hueys and OH-58 Kiowa utility variants in non-combat roles, freeing up larger and more expensive UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters for front-line duty. In June 2006, a variant of Eurocopter’s EC145 beat AgustaWestland’s AB139, Bell-Textron’s 412EP Twin Huey, and MD Helicopters’ 902 Explorer NOTAR (No Tail Rotor) design. The win marked EADS’ 1st serious military win in the American market, and their “UH-145” became the “UH-72A Lakota” at an official December 2006 naming ceremony.
Eurocopter has continued to field new mission kits and deliver helicopters from its Mississippi production line, while trying to build on their LUH breakthrough. A training helicopter win will keep the line going for a couple more years…
The LUH Program: Objectives & Background
The LUH Winner: Eurocopter’s EC145/ UH-72A
UH-72A Lakota Variants
LUH Industrial Arrangements
American UH-72As: Contracts and Key Events
FY 2013 – 2014
FY 2007 and Earlier
Appendix A: Eurocopter – Anatomy of a Win
Additional Readings & Sources
News & Views
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