Airbus hosted a ceremony with leaders of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) to commemorate the UH-72A Lakota’s 10th anniversary at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland.
Airbus Helicopters established the Lakota program at the USNTPS in July 2009. Over the past ten years, the UH-72A Lakota fleet there has consistently exceeded operational availability targets and continues to provide high levels of mission readiness with availability rates averaging nearly 94 percent.
“This is quite a milestone for the Lakota program. Experimental test pilots need a reliable and versatile aircraft as they are often flying an aircraft at the edge of its performance envelope, and we’re confident that we have provided the best value over the last ten years for this requirement,” said Scott Tumpak, Airbus Helicopters Inc. Vice President of Military Programs.
The UH-72A Lakota is a version of the highly successful EC145 twin-engine rotorcraft used by U.S. Navy, U.S. Army and many other military units worldwide. Airbus has delivered over 430 Lakota aircraft to the U.S. Army. Globally, there are 1,345 H145 helicopters in service, amassing over 5.5 million flight hours.
“From our experience delivering sophisticated and proven capabilities, we offer the Navy the most cost-effective and reliable aircraft from over 50 years of expertise, customer satisfaction, innovation and technology,” Tumpak said. “That is the foundation of our leadership position in delivering rotary- wing training capabilities today.”
Airbus has a vested interest in delivering the effective training systems for Department of Defense rotary-wing aviators. Recently, the company offered its H135 as its proposal for the U.S. Navy’s Advanced Helicopter Training System (AHTS), soon to be known as the TH-73A.
The H135 is a technically mature, FAA IFR-certified twin-engine aircraft that will enhance the U.S. Navy’s rotary-wing training curriculum. Similar to the UH-72A, the H135 has a storied performance history with an accumulation of more than 5 million flight hours. Today, the H135 is used in 11 military training helicopter programs by our nation’s closest allies.
The H135 is poised to provide the Navy with a best-in-class pilot training capability most similar to the aircraft future aviators will fly in operational missions. Today, Airbus has 675 aircraft in operations by the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security.
The UH-72A Lakota is built in Columbus, Mississippi, the same location where Airbus has manufactured over 555 helicopters for the U.S. Government. This facility employs a workforce of over 40% military veterans, who continue Airbus’ 50-year tradition of manufacturing helicopters in the U.S.