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Friday, May 1, 2009

Rotorcraft Report: UH-72As Hit 10,000 Hours

MILITARY | MEDVAC

Collectively, the 58 American Eurocopter UH-72A Lakotas currently on duty with the U.S. Army and National Guard have accumulated 10,000 flying hours. These light utility helicopters (LUHs), which are based on the Eurocopter EC-145 twin turbine civilian helicopter, can carry two pilots and six passengers in its standard LUH configuration.

"10,000 hours is a significant milestone," said EADS spokesperson Tim Paynter. EADS is the parent company of American Eurocopter. "The UH-72As are helping our military replace aging Hueys, and freeing up larger Black Hawk helicopters from domestic utility duties."

In addition to transport, the U.S. military is using UH-72As for medevac flights, with each helicopter capable of carrying two litters. The Army has also certified the UH-72A for the free-fall deployment of paratroopers exiting through the helicopter’s large, sliding side doors. As well, some Lakotas are being equipped with electro-optic and infrared sensors, digital moving maps, searchlights, and data links for Army National Guard reconnaissance and interdiction detachment missions.

All 52 Army National Guard UH-72As are being used domestically. American Eurocopter is scheduled to deliver 76 more under its current contract with EADS North America, with 217 more expected to be ordered through to 2016. Five UH-72As have been ordered by the U.S. Navy for the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Md.

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