|New Army Helicopter is a Military Version of the Successful Eurocopter EC145 - Posted on on Friday, December 15, 20:21 GMT
EADS North America officially delivered the first UH-72A Light Utility Helicopter today to the U.S. Army, marking the beginning of this major defence program. The U.S. Army had selected the UH-145 (renamed UH-72A by the Army) in July 2006 with a requirement for up to 322 helicopters and a potential total life-cycle value of over billion. To date, the Army has ordered a total of 42 UH-72As, along with the associated training services for pilots and maintenance personnel.
The UH-72A is based on the commercially successful Eurocopter EC145 which has become the standard rotary aircraft for emergency medical service and high demanding utility missions. This first UH-72A was received by the U.S. Army, in the presence of US senior officials and politicians, during a delivery and naming ceremony in Columbus, Mississippi, where Eurocop-ter's US subsidiary, American Eurocopter, has a production site and will manufacture the twin-engine helicopter.
A second UH-72A will be delivered before year-end, responding early to
the Army's fast-paced requirement for the helicopter, which will be
used on logistical and support missions within the United States. Forty
more light utility helicopters currently are in the pro-duction cycle
for delivery to the Army during 2007 and 2008. At today's delivery ceremony, the Army unveiled the UH-72A's official
name: Lakota, which is a Native American Indian tribe of the Great
Sioux Nation. Naming the UH-72A the Lakota con-tinues the service's
tradition of naming its helicopters after Native American tribes.
"This first delivery to such a prestigious client symbolises a major
success for Eurocopter, since it's the first time ever that together
with EADS, we participate in the U.S. defence mar-ket", said Lutz
Bertling, CEO of Eurocopter. "It proves the quality, modernity and
mission suit-ability of this helicopter. It creates a great opportunity
to strengthen and increase the Eurocop-ter presence on the US market,
with a major extension of our production facility in Mississippi and
the creation of 250 to 300 US jobs. It is for Eurocopter the outcome of
more than 40 years of cooperation with American companies and customer
Eurocopter has been very active on the US market during the past
decades and is today the leader in the civil and parapublic market,
with more than 50% of this market. Eurocopter, and its US Subsidiary
American Eurocopter, supplies helicopters to U.S. homeland security and
law enforcement agencies across the United States, including the U.S.
Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Drug Enforcement
Agency, and the FBI.
EADS North America, who is acting as a prime contractor for the US
Army, leads a UH-72A team of US industrial partners and subcontractors
committed to delivering the best-value Light Utility Helicopter
solution to this major customer.
The Columbus, Mississippi factory of American Eurocopter is undergoing
a major expansion to support the UH-72A production, assembly and
delivery. Industrial activity at Columbus is starting with the Light
Utility Helicopter's build-up and acceptance for delivery, and will
sub-sequently transition to full-scale production with the facility
expanding to a total covered area of 32,500 m2 to be completed in the
fall of 2007. In addition to the UH-72A program, activity at the
Columbus factory includes production/assembly of AS350 and EC120
helicopters for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other
government/law enforcement agencies in North America, as well as
support for the U.S. Coast Guard's modernization of its HH-65 Dolphin
Created in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a
Division of EADS, one of the top three aerospace companies in the
world. The group employs 13,000 people. Its strong worldwide presence
is insured by its 16 subsidiaries located on the five continents, along
with a network of distributors and certified agents. 9,500 Eurocopter
helicopters are currently operating in 139 countries on behalf of some
2,500 customers. Eurocopter offers the largest civil and military range
in the world.The group now accounts for 30% of the world market. In
2005, Eurocopter secured its position as the world's No. 1, with a
turnover of 3.2 billion euros up by 15% over the 2004 turnover - with
orders for 401 new helicopters, once again leading the way in the civil
and parapublic sectors with a 52% market share.