US Army cites Lakota acquisition programme for excellence


The US Army has praised the UH-72A Light Utility Helicopter programme for its “continued excellence” in delivering rotorcraft on time and on budget.

Rusty Weiger, the Deputy Programme Executive Officer for US Army Aviation says “the UH-72A has accomplished what few – if any other – major programs have achieved: staying on price and schedule this far into the project…and I see no reason why we can’t continue this performance.”

The US Army ordered 345 UH-72A`s in October 2006 to replace aging UH-1H Huey and OH-58A/C Cayuse helicopters in the Army and Army National Guard inventory.

The UH-72A is a militarised Eurocopter EC145 and is built by American Eurocopter.

“I also believe the Lakota program’s reputation will position us – even with today’s budget constraints – to grasp future opportunities that may arise, which will be a win for the U.S. Army, EADS North America and American Eurocopter,” Weiger added.

Weiger made his comments during a speech at the 40th anniversary celebration for American Eurocopter – the EADS North America business unit with responsibility for the Lakota’s production.

The event also gave another US government operator an opportunity to praise the company’s helicopters in service for the country’s homeland security.

Colonel Steve Pitotti, the US Customs and Border Protection’s Executive Director of Test, Training, Safety and Standards, said American Eurocopter’s AS350 and EC120 helicopters are vital to his agency’s patrol duties along the nation’s more than 10 000 miles of border.
“Every hour of every day, American Eurocopter aircraft are defending our border, and we are very pleased with them,” Pitotti said. “These helicopters are operating in the sub-tropics of Miami, in the frozen cold of Montana at 10 000 feet, over cities such as Washington, DC, Atlanta and Dallas, and along the entire southwest border of the Rio Grande – all the way to San Diego. We find these aircraft to be very powerful, very reliable, very fast and very quiet.”

He added that U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s fleet will soon be reaching a total of 67 AS350s and 18 EC120s.