The U.S. Army's fleet of UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopters reaches its 40,000 flight hour milestone in operational service

(PresseBox) (Arlington, Va., ) The UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter, which is supplied by EADS North America, has surpassed the 40,000-flight hour milestone in operational service with the U.S. Army and Army National Guard.

Built at the company's American Eurocopter facility in Columbus, Miss., a total of 138 Lakotas have been delivered to date for fielding to Army and Army National Guard units, which also includes five for the U.S. Navy. This rotary-wing aircraft is operated by active duty Army and Army National Guard units in missions that include medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), search and rescue, drug interdiction, VIP transport and general aviation support.

"This new milestone once again demonstrates the UH-72A's capability to meet our warfighters' needs in a full range of missions and demanding operating conditions," said Sean O'Keefe, CEO of EADS North America. "The Lakota's 40,000 flight hours also underscores our company's dedication to deliver on its commitments to the U.S. Army - which has been a top priority for us since being selected for the Lakota program in 2006."

The majority of UH-72As delivered to date are based at locations from coast to coast in the United States. Other deployments have placed Lakotas with the National Guard in Puerto Rico, at the Army's Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) in Germany, and on the Pacific Ocean's Kwajalein Atoll in support of the Army's Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site. The fleet of Lakotas has consistently achieved an operational readiness rate greater than 90 percent.

American Eurocopter, an operating unit of EADS North America, has built a dedicated assembly line for the Light Utility Helicopter at its rotary-wing center of excellence adjacent to the Golden Triangle Regional Airport.

A total of 345 UH-72As are planned for acquisition by the U.S. Army through 2015. All Lakotas provided by EADS North America to the military service have been delivered on time and within budget. In addition to the 40,000 flight hours accumulated by the U.S. Army's UH-72As, another 600 hours have been logged by five H-72A versions of the Lakota operated at the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md. These helicopters are used for training test pilots from the U.S. military and allied countries.

About EADS North America
EADS North America is the North American operation of EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defense and related services. As a leader in all sectors of defense and homeland security, EADS North America and its parent company, EADS, contribute over $11 billion to the U.S. economy annually and support more than 200,000 American jobs through its network of suppliers and services. Operating in 17 states, EADS North America offers a broad array of advanced solutions to its customers in the commercial, homeland security, aerospace and defense markets.

About EADS
EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defense and related services. In 2009, the Group - comprising Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian and Eurocopter - generated revenues of € 42.8 billion and employed a workforce of more than 119,000.

Airbus Helicopters

American Eurocopter is a helicopter manufacturer that produces, markets, sells and supports the broadest range of civil and para-public helicopters offered by any manufacturer in the United States. The company is a subsidiary of EADS North America Holdings, the North American operations of EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defense and related services, and is an affiliate of Eurocopter, the largest helicopter manufacturer in the world. American Eurocopter's product line represents the most cost-effective, technologically-advanced helicopters, ranging from light single to heavy twin, serving all markets and missions. Company headquarters and main facilities are located in Grand Prairie, Texas, with a large manufacturing and production facility in Columbus, Miss., that produces the UH-72A for the U.S. Army's Light Utility Helicopter program.

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