Airbus has celebrated a decade of producing helicopters for the US Army. The celebrations took place at the company’s Columbus base, where it develops the UH-72A Lakota helicopters that the Army uses.
The contract has seen Airbus deliver 423 Lakota aircraft to the US Army, including helicopters that are in use with the US Navy and Royal Thai Army. It has also been contracted to deliver a further 51 UH-72As to the Army between 2018 and 2020. The service said that it has delivered every Lakota on time, on cost and meeting ‘stringent Army quality standards’ since it started production.
The Army uses the aircraft for a variety of missions, including medevac, humanitarian aid, logistics and more. The aircraft is also used as the initial rotary-wing training helicopter, with more than 1,000 pilots trained a year at its Fort Rucker base.
US Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi were in attendance at the celebrations, and both expressed their pride in the facility. “After working to support the Lakota’s authorisation in the Senate,” said Wicker, “I am excited to see even more of these state-of-the-art helicopters rolling off the production line. They reflect the skills of our workers in the Golden Triangle and the strong partnership between the Army and Airbus.”
Chris Emerson, President of Airbus Helicopters Inc. and Head of the company’s North America region, added: “We at Airbus are proud of the products we build. The quality of our work in the Lakota programme is a reflection of our employees’ commitment to supporting our nation’s fighting troops with the finest aviation capability in the world.”