The UH-72 Lakota – Combines operational capability, reliability and affordability, fulfilling all of the Army’s requirements for speed, range, endurance and overall performance.
We are talking about The UH-72 Lakota – the U.S. Army’s multi-mission helicopter, which is used worldwide for law enforcement, emergency medical transportation, search and rescue, offshore and utility operations, and corporate transportation.
The Eurocopter UH-72 Lakota is a single, four-bladed main rotor twin-engine helicopter. The UH-72 is a militarized version of the EC145 Eurocopter and was built by the Airbus Group division, American Eurocopter. Initially marketed as the UH-145, on June 30, 2006, the helicopter was chosen as the winner of the Light Utility Helicopter program of the United States Army.
The UH-72 is based on the EC 145 multi-role helicopter, serving the army primarily for US logistics and support missions. It is also used for homeland security and disaster response missions and medical evacuations by the Army National Guard.
With its well-rounded body and heavily glazed frontal section, the Lakota takes on a decidedly European look.
It has a single 4-bladed main rotor and a single 2-bladed tail rotor mounted on the tail assembly’s left side. The tail unit of the helicopters is mounted high with a pair of non-moving horizontal stabilizers mounted under the tail rotor.
Furthermore, twin vertical stabilizers are mounted on the outside edges of the horizontal stabilizers, thus effectively boxing in the tail rotor, enabling the safe loading and unloading of the cargo area.
For increased situational awareness, the cockpit and cabin windows are large. A typical crew is two and up to eight passenger seats or two medical litters.
The aircraft body has access doors mounted on each side of the fuselage, as well as large clamshell doors on the rear of the airframe to allow access to the cargo area for the loading of bulk cargo or litters. The UH-72 has a rescue winch mounted on the left side above the door of the crew compartment. The UH-72A utilizes a twin skid landing gear system.
The helicopter UH-72A Lakota is unarmed. It is mainly used for logistics and non-combat missions. It can also perform medical evacuations and personnel recovery tasks.
This helicopter has a capacity of 1790kg for payload. It can also carry a maximum underslung load of 1500kg.
Two Turbomeca Arriel 1E2 turboshaft engines power the helicopter. The UH-72 can fly in one-engine-inoperable mode. Other safety features include an airframe and seats that are crashworthy.
Performance includes a maximum speed of 167 miles per hour with a cruising speed near 155 miles per hour. The range is 425 miles and the service ceilings are about 18,000 feet high. Climbing rates are 1,600 feet per minute. Dimensions include 42.6 feet of length with 36 feet of rotor diameter and 11.8 feet of height.
The US Army proposed an armed scout version of the UH-72 as a replacement for the Kiowa Warrior OH-58D. It did not receive any production orders, though.
In June 2006, EADS North America was awarded a $43.1 million contract for an initial order of eight helicopters. The army took delivery in December 2006 of the first UH-72A Lakota. July 2007 delivered the first eight helicopters. An additional order for $170 million worth of 34 helicopters was placed for delivery by the end of 2008 in October 2006.
Operators beyond the United States Army and Navy now Thailand which has six systems on order. The Southeast Asian nation announced a further nine units for procurement.
Airbus Helicopters recently won an approximately $ 273 million contract to supply the U.S. Army with 35 additional UH-72A Lakota rotary-wing aircraft.