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Airbus Defense and Space has been contracted by the US Army to supply UH-72A Lakota helicopters and associated equipment packages.

The army exercised options from the company’s original contract, awarded in 2006.

Under the $65.8m deal, Airbus will supply 12 additional UH-72A Lakota helicopters, which will be built at their production facility in Columbus, Mississippi, US.

The UH-72A twin-engine helicopter is a stable and agile platform, featuring a glass cockpit compatible with night-vision goggles.

Airbus Group chairman and CEO Allan McArtor said: "Time and again the UH-72A has proven to be the most cost-effective solution to meet a wide variety of needs for the US military and our allies.

"The Army’s flawless execution of the Lakota programme has proven that even in today’s challenging defence acquisition environment, there are success stories for the taxpayer and warfighter alike."

"The UH-72A has proven to be the most cost-effective solution to meet a wide variety of needs for the US military."

In August 2017, Airbus will begin delivery of the helicopters, which will be used as initial-entry rotary-wing trainers by the army.

The army plans to have an initial-entry training fleet of 187 Lakotas, which will be a mix of new deliveries and reconfigured aircraft.

An unarmed utility version of the EC-145 helicopter, the UH-72A Lakota is primarily used for search-and-rescue, medical evacuations, homeland security, VIP transport and disaster response, as well as combat flight and pilot sustainment training missions.

Currently operated by the army and National Guard, as well as the US Naval Test Pilot School, the helicopter can also be used for general support and counter-narcotics operations.

The helicopters have also been ordered by the Royal Thai Army through the US Government’s foreign military sales programme.

In March, the US Army received the first training version of the UH-72A Lakota light-utility helicopter from Airbus.

Image: A UH-72A Lakota in flight. Photo: Copyright Airbus Group, James Darcy.