We get behind the controls of a Magni M16 gyroplane, chat with NASA engineers about the Mars Helicopter, look at Helinet’s firefighting Black Hawk & reflect on the legacy left by Universal Helicopters.
Airbus Helicopters has delivered the 200th UH-72A Lakota for training operations with the Army Aviation Center of Excellence in Fort Rucker, Alabama.
The aircraft represents the company’s 440th Lakota delivery since the program began in 2006, sustaining one of the Department of Defense’s only on-time, on-cost and on-quality Acquisition Category 1 (ACAT 1) programs over the last decade.
Airbus’s partnership with the Army has allowed for the training of nearly 1,500 military student pilots while also providing the U.S. National Guard with a versatile rotary-wing capability suitable for counter-narcotic, border security and disaster response missions.
“The Lakota continues to be a great asset as the initial rotary-wing trainer for the Army and all of our domestic customers,” said Scott Tumpak, Airbus Helicopters Inc., vice president of military programs. “We are proud of achieving this milestone 200th delivery to the Army Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker, as it clearly illustrates our commitment to delivering on our promises to our customer. We will continue working hand-in-hand with the Army to provide the most cost-effective and reliable training system available for their future pilots.”
The UH-72A Lakota is a derivative of the highly successful EC145 twin-engine rotorcraft, and is operated by U.S. Navy, U.S. Army and other various military units worldwide. To date, the Lakota fleet has amassed more than 600,000 flight hours.
Airbus Helicopters has over 675 aircraft in operation for the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security. The company is also proposing its versatile H135 for the U.S. Navy’s advanced helicopter training system, soon to be known as the TH-73.
With an accumulation 5.5 million flight hours, the twin-engine H135 offers the Navy a low-risk and proven capability most suitable for 21st century pilot training and beyond.
This year Airbus celebrates 50 years of operations in the United States, displaying a level of commitment and dedication to developing local economies and creating jobs in the U.S. The UH-72A Lakota is built in Columbus, Mississippi, where Airbus has manufactured nearly 550 helicopters for the U.S. Government. The facility also builds the H125 for the North American market and employs a work force consisting of nearly 40 percent veterans, who continue Airbus’s 50 year tradition of manufacturing helicopters in the U.S.