Country Risk

Upgrading UH-72As for combat conditions 'unaffordable', Pentagon says

27 June 2013

Modifications to the US Army's fleet of EADS UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopters that would make them suitable for use in combat environments are "presently unaffordable," top Pentagon weapon buyer Frank Kendall wrote in a 21 June letter to Congress in response to queries from lawmakers.

The AAS-72X, pictured during a 2012 demonstration flight, is an armed variant of the UH-72A Lakota utility helicopter. (EADS-North America)The AAS-72X, pictured during a 2012 demonstration flight, is an armed variant of the UH-72A Lakota utility helicopter. (EADS-North America)

"The modifications needed to employ the UH-72A in hostile environments would likely include passive and active survivability systems, hardening upgrades to the engine and drive train, military external lighting, and communications upgrades," Kendall wrote.

The army found that the changes and testing required to meet those standards would cost a minimum of USD780 million and add more than 351 kg to the aircraft, "which would significantly decrease aircraft performance and could potentially compromise the accomplishment of some missions", according to Kendall.

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