At the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) virtual exhibition in Washington from 28th to 29th August 2020, Airbus Helicopters announced the launch of the latest version of the LAKOTA helicopter, with an order for 17 aircraft.
The UH-72 belongs to the widely used H145 family, whose military and civilian versions have been introduced to the German Army and numerous police forces. Since 2006, Airbus Helicopters has delivered over 460 UH-72As to the U.S. Army, with the 463rd and final aircraft scheduled for delivery this month. These are used in the US by the Army, Navy and National Guard and have already completed more than 800,000 flight hours, with the first UH-72B to be handed over next year.
The most important improvements in upgrading to the UH-72B are the introduction of the Fenestron rotor at the tail, more powerful engines, improved controls and the Helionix avionics suite to reduce pilot workload. The aircraft’s mission spectrum includes search and rescue missions, disaster relief, drug control operations and life-saving MEDEVAC flights. In addition, the LAKOTA is used in the primary training of the Army’s helicopter pilots.
In a retrospective, Airbus Helicopters has pointed out that the UH-72A Lakota has been delivered on time and within budget for more than 15 years, as have the numerous H145 and H145M programmes.