The first of six UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopters (LUH) has been delivered to the South Dakota Army National Guard by EADS North America.

The UH-72A Lakota, equipped with additional mission equipment packages (MEPs), will allow the national guard to respond better to a wide range of missions.

The South Dakota Army National Guard will ultimately receive six Lakota helicopters, four in the medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) configuration and two in the security and support (S&S) Battalion configuration.

Lakotas are used in multiple configurations for medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) missions, search and rescue duties, border patrols along the US / Mexican border, VIP transport, general aviation support and in-combat flight training.

The aircraft will allow the aging OH-58 and UH-1 rotary-wing aircraft with the national guard units to be retired, and will also allow UH-60 Black Hawks to be assigned to combat missions.

167 Lakota helicopters have been delivered to the US Army since 2006, ahead of schedule and within budget.