SOURCE: EADS North America

EADS North America

October 05, 2009 10:00 ET

EADS North America and U.S. Army Validates Global Mobility of the UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter

ARLINGTON, VA--(Marketwire - October 5, 2009) - EADS North America and the U.S. Army successfully loaded four U.S. Army UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopters (LUH) and one additional company-owned EC145 helicopter onto a U.S. Air Force C-17, validating the transportability of the LUH.

The demonstration was performed at Gulfport, Miss., in preparation for a future delivery of four U.S. Army UH-72A Lakotas to the Pacific theater for basing on the Kwajalein Atoll. The loading test confirmed that five UH-72A helicopters can be accommodated in the C-17's cargo bay with minimal disassembly, and that the aircraft can rapidly be made mission-ready upon arrival with no maintenance test flights required.

"Rapid global mobility is an operational necessity for all key military systems," said David Oliver, EADS North America's chief operating officer. "Demonstrating that five UH-72As can be quickly loaded onto a C-17 is an important validation of the Lakota's mission flexibility and offers significant operational value to the warfighter."

The UH-72A's compact airframe allows the five-helicopter load to be accommodated in the C-17 without removal of the four main rotor blades, which are designed to be folded.

To date, more than 85 Lakotas have been delivered on or ahead of schedule and on budget -- making the UH-72A one of the U.S. Army's most successful aircraft acquisition programs. Current Army plans call for up to 345 of these twin-engine helicopters to be acquired through 2016.

In addition, five H-72A helicopters have been ordered for the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Md.

EADS North America also is offering its Armed Scout 645 variant in response to U.S. Army requirements for a next-generation combat helicopter capable of operating in hot, high altitude environments.

The Armed Scout 645 is based on the same airframe as the highly successful UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter it is delivering to the U.S. Army.

The world-class industry team assembled by EADS North America for the Armed Scout 645 includes Lockheed Martin as the Mission Equipment Package integrator, and American Eurocopter -- which will build the aircraft at its Columbus, Miss., facility where Lakotas are currently manufactured.

About EADS North America (www.eadsnorthamerica.com)

EADS North America is the North American operation of EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defense and related services. As a leader in all sectors of defense and homeland security, EADS North America and its parent company, EADS, contribute over $11 billion to the U.S. economy annually and support more than 200,000 American jobs through its network of suppliers and services. Operating in 17 states, EADS North America offers a broad array of advanced solutions to its customers in the commercial, homeland security, aerospace and defense markets.