In a strategic move aimed at bolstering national security, the US Army has awarded Airbus a $27.8m contract to modernise its Army national guard security and support battalion mission equipment package (MEP).

The $27.8m contract facilitates advanced technology integration for enhanced reconnaissance, search and rescue missions, and homeland security operations. The upgraded UH-72A Lakota helicopters will be equipped with modern features, empowering pilots with increased functionality and versatility for tasks.

The upgraded MEP includes advanced features that enhance the UH-72A Lakota’s operational capacities. These upgrades allow the helicopters to execute day and night operations effectively, courtesy of an advanced moving map, enhanced digital interfaces, new monitors, an airborne mission management system, and other system improvements.

“This award provides pilots with significantly increased functionality and capability to carry out today’s demanding missions, further enhancing the Lakota’s value as an ISR asset for the National Guard,” noted Scott Tumpak, Vice President of Military Line of Business for Airbus US Space and Defense.

The UH-72A Lakota helicopters equipped with the MEP are designed to work in a range of missions under the purview of the National Guard. These missions encompass domestic operations, counter-drug initiatives, and border security efforts, all important to safeguarding the nation.

Under the contract terms, Airbus is set to retrofit up to 50 security and support battalion aircraft deployed across the United States. Currently, the fleet comprises 107 UH-72A Lakota helicopters. The retrofitting process will occur at Airbus’ helicopter production facility in Columbus, Mississippi.

Airbus SE is projected to be the fourth shareholder in this region, owing to its contracts for United States UH-72B procurement for the US Army National Guard, according to GlobalData’s “The Global Military Rotorcraft Market 2023-2033” report. 

This facility has a history of delivering UH-72A and UH-72B Lakota helicopters based on the H145 platform to the US Army since 2006. Another nation to have incorporated the UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopter into its inventory is the Royal Thai Army.

The execution of the contract falls under the jurisdiction of Airbus US Space & Defense, a division of Airbus.