Two US senators of Mississippi have announced that the US Army has awarded a contract for the procurement of 15 UH-72 Lakota light utility helicopters.

Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith announced that the contract has been awarded to Airbus Helicopters, with an initial obligation of $61.3m. It has a ceiling value of $122.6m.

Production and manufacturing of the utility helicopter will be carried out at Airbus’ facility in Columbus, Mississippi.

The contract is expected to conclude by 31 August 2022. The US Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is serving as the contracting activity.

Wicker said: “This is excellent news for the skilled manufacturers in Columbus who build the Lakota helicopter.

“As our military works to develop the next generation of helicopter pilots, the Lakota will be there to help. Mississippians can be proud of that legacy.”

Increased appropriations in the fiscal year 2018 have been obligated for this helicopter production contract.

US Senator Appropriations Committee Cindy Hyde-Smith said: “The distribution of these appropriated funds will help fulfil an unfunded priority for the army.

“The talented workforce in the Golden Triangle Region will produce these UH-72 helicopters in a manner that reflects well on them and their commitment to our national security.”

In March 2018, the US Army awarded a $116m contract for the delivery of 16 additional units of the UH-72A.

Last year, the 200th UH-72A Lakota was delivered to the US Army Aviation Center of Excellence in Fort Rucker for training operations.

A derivative of EC145 twin-engine rotorcraft, the multirole helicopter features the vehicle and engine multifunction display with night-vision goggle compatible glass cockpit.

This UH-72 aircraft is currently in service with the US Army, US Navy and US National Guard, as well as other military units worldwide.