Air Platforms

US Army marks Lakota milestone

10 October 2017

The US Army has received its 400th Airbus Helicopters UH-72A Lakota training and support platform into service, Airbus announced on 9 October.

In US Army service the Lakota is used for pilot training and ‘behind-the-lines’ support work. (US Army)In US Army service the Lakota is used for pilot training and ‘behind-the-lines’ support work. (US Army)

The milestone comes 11 years after the civil variant EC 145 was selected by the army in 2006 to conduct pilot training, while freeing up frontline helicopters such as the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk and enabling older types like the Bell UH-1 ‘Huey’ and OH-58A Kiowa Warrior to be phased out.

Deliveries began in late 2008, with the final 12 helicopters to be transferred to the army the coming months.

A number of the army’s Lakotas have been upgraded for the security and support (S&S) role, which includes law enforcement support, search and rescue, emergency medical service, VIP liaison, counter-narcotics, and general utility. The helicopters were fitted with a centreline electro-optical infrared (EO/IR) sensor turret, a 30-million-candle-power searchlight, an analogue/digital video downlink, a rear observer’s console with a 381 mm (15 inch) display, an enhanced tactical communications suite, an external hoist, an onboard digital video recorder, 264 mm auxiliary displays for the pilot and co-pilot, and a video management system.

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