Airbus Helicopters Inc. has delivered the first UH-72B to the U.S. Army National Guard from its factory in Columbus, Mississippi. The UH-72B is the latest variant of Airbus’ Lakota line of rotorcraft. The National Guard has 18 UH-72B Lakotas on order.
The latest iteration of the commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) rotorcraft joins its predecessors as the Army’s Light Utility Helicopter. The service signed its first Lakota contract in 2006. Over the years, the Lakota has seen multiple updates and enhancements, “without investing any government money into the development of those capabilities” according to Airbus.
Col. Calvin Lane, U.S. Army Project Manager for Utility Helicopters, said, “The Lakota helicopter has been a staple of the Army for more than 15 years now, and we look forward to benefiting from the latest technologies and performances that the newest 72B variant will provide.”
Scott Tumpak, vice president of Airbus military helicopter programs in the U.S., said, “Our teams in Mississippi, many of whom are U.S. Army and National Guard veterans themselves, are proud to build and deliver the first of this newest Lakota variant in support of the Army’s essential missions protecting and serving our country.”