UH-72A Lakota

Airbus Defence and Space has been awarded a contract to produce and supply additional UH-72A Lakota helicopters to the US Army.

Under the terms of the $220.5m agreement, the company will manufacture 41 helicopters equipped with AN/ARC-231 airborne communication system.

US Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee chairman Thad Cochran said: "The Lakota helicopters have proven to be effective and affordable aircraft for the army and the highly capable workforce in the Golden Triangle Region contributes to the success of this procurement programme.

"The award of this contract is good news for both the army and Mississippi."

Work under the contract is scheduled to be carried out at the company’s facility in Columbus, US, with an estimated completion date of July 2017.

"The Lakota helicopters have proven to be effective and affordable aircraft for the army."

An unarmed utility militarised 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 and relief, as well as combat flight and pilot sustainment training missions.

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Powered by two Turbomeca Arriel 1E2 turboshaft engines, it can also be used for general support and counter-narcotics operations.

Claimed to be one of the most cost-effective programmes in the US military, the helicopter is used by the US Army, navy and the army national guard.

A total of 345 UH-72As are expected to be acquired by the army under a defence acquisition category I programme, which is scheduled to continue until 2016.

Image: A UH-72A Lakota helicopter. Photo: © 2015 AIRBUS GROUP, INC.