The US Army has awarded a $116m contract for the delivery of 16 additional units of the UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopters.

Awarded to Airbus Helicopters, the current contract includes the delivery of associated technical and flight operator manuals, and programme management in training configuration for the Initial Entry Rotary Wing mission at Fort Rucker, Alabama, US.

The deliveries carried out under the contract are part of a 2016 fiscal year procurement decision.

Airbus Helicopters president and CEO and North America Region head Chris Emerson said: “As the world’s best helicopter trainer provider, we recognise how important an asset the Lakota is for army aviation and our nation.

“The aircraft is 42.65ft-long, with a maximum weight of 7,903lb and a fast cruise speed of 133k.”

“Our employees at Airbus are committed to delivering every aircraft on-cost and on-schedule, without exception.”

“Our mission of providing this vital national asset is crucial to the protection of our country and the closure of the pilot shortage gap.”

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The twin-engine utility helicopter is deployed by the US Army to carry out a wide range of military operations, such as troop and light cargo transport, medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), border security and homeland defence.

The aircraft is 42.65ft-long, with a maximum weight of 7,903lb and a fast cruise speed of 133k.

Since 2005, Airbus Helicopters has delivered more than 423 UH-72As from its manufacturing facilities in Columbus, Mississippi.

With additional Lakotas included in the US Army fleet, aircraft operators will have enhanced capability to carry out and support disaster relief and counter-drug operations in support of civil agencies or national emergencies.

Earlier this month, the company secured a $273m contract to supply 35 additional UH-72A Lakota aircraft to the US Army.