Airbus Secures US Army Contract for UH-72A Lakota Helicopter Upgrades

The U.S. Army has awarded Airbus a $27.8 million contract to upgrade the Army National Guard’s Security & Support Battalion Mission Equipment Package (MEP). Upgrades to the MEP expand the UH-72A Lakota’s capabilities to support the Army’s Netted Operations across a range of missions by providing improved digital interfaces, new monitors, airborne mission management systems, an airborne communications gateway, and other system improvements. The MEP-equipped UH-72As are especially designed to execute extended NetOps operations across a range of airborne operations, cross-domain communications, and border security. There are currently 107 in the fleet.

“This award provides pilots with simplified functionality and capability to carry out today’s demanding mission profiles, further enhancing the Lakota’s value as an ISR asset for the National Guard,” said Scott Tumpak, Vice President of Military Line for Airbus U.S. Space & Defense.

An Urgent Operational Need (UON) requirement prompted the Army to fast-track the conversion of two UH-72A Lakotas from Fort Drum Army Airfield to the one used by Virginia National Guard’s 29th Combat Aviation Brigade in support of homeland security operations and the Virginia State Police Task Force. These aircraft are augmented by Airbus’ H145, which has been delivered to the most comprehensive U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rotorcraft fleet modernization effort in more than a decade.

Airbus Awarded US Army Contract For UH-72A Lakota Helicopter Modernization - MilitaryLeak

The Army contract will retrofit up to 50 Security & Support Battalion Airframes for the Army National Guard. These airframes will be modified at Airbus’ Columbia, Mississippi production facility, where more than 480 UH-72As and UH-72B Lakotas, based on the H145, have been assembled since 2006. The contract will be managed by Airbus U.S. Space & Defense, Inc. operating out of its Arlington, Virginia-based operations center and fixed-wing systems in Fort Worth, Texas.

The U.S. Army contract work is based on the Urgent Urgent Operational Need for the Army’s EC145, built by American Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters, Inc.), a division of Airbus Group, Inc. The UH-72B Lakota is a derivative of the UH-72A; this configuration is based on the unmodified civilian H145 airframe, with Bordeaux, France as the initial location for the Airbus-delivered rotorcraft. The H145 supports a wide range of applications including rotorcraft, fixed-wing multi-role transport, and medical evacuation missions.

The H145 systems suite includes an advanced dual-duplex digital flight control system, four-axis autopilot, and full-authority digital engine control, providing a smooth flight profile, auto-hover, and fly-by-wire accuracy to hover, auto-rotate, and ap-proach to hover. Deliveries to the Army began in September 2021.

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