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Eurocopter's Lowndes plant gets $67 million contract to upgrade helicopters

 

Marketwire

 

ARLINGTON, VA - The U.S. Army has awarded EADS North America a $67 million contract for the supply of Mission Equipment Packages (MEP) on UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopters to be operated by Army National Guard Security and Support Battalions (SS Battalions). This contract award is the first phase of a total contract value estimated to be approximately $152 million. 

 

 

 

Built at the companys American Eurocopter facility in Columbus, Miss., these system improvements will be outfitted on UH-72As deployed throughout the United States where the Army National Guard Lakota aircraft are stationed. The packages expand the Lakotas use in reconnaissance, border protection, command and control and air movement operations that support U.S. homeland defense and security missions. 

 

 

 

"This contract underscores EADS North Americas ability to integrate complex mission systems that meet our warfighters needs," said EADS North America Chairman Ralph D. Crosby, Jr. "It also marks a new milestone in the evolution of the UH-72A, as this capable helicopter is given increasingly diverse operational duties with the U.S. Army. Supporting the SS mission is further evidence of our industry teams commitment to delivering state-of-the art products that enable the Army to meet todays demanding missions." 

 

 

 

Deliveries of UH-72As with the SS Battalion Mission Equipment Package are scheduled to begin in 2011. The contract announced today covers EADS North Americas supply of an initial 36 MEPs, with the U.S. Army expected to ultimately acquire systems to outfit a total of 99 Lakota helicopters. 

 

 

 

The UH-72A SS Battalion configuration includes a forward centerline-mounted camera system with electro-optical and infrared sensors and laser pointer, a 30 million candlepower searchlight, operator console, cockpit and cabin touch-screen displays with moving map, a video management system, a digital video recorder and data downlink system, plus an external hoist and additional avionics and communications equipment. 

 

 

 

Located throughout the United States, the U.S. Army National Guard SS Battalions provide a dispersed, readily available, light aviation capability for military missions and operations in support of civil authorities. These units currently operate aging Vietnam-era rotary-wing aircraft, which will be replaced by the UH-72A. 

 

 

 

The UH-72A is produced in Columbus, Miss., by the American Eurocopter operating unit of EADS North America, which built a dedicated assembly line for the Light Utility Helicopter. A systems integration facility was created at this site to manage the development of UH-72As Mission Equipment Package for the Army National Guard SS Battalion configuration. 

 

 

 

A total of 345 UH-72As are planned for acquisition by the U.S. Army through 2015, which includes the versions outfitted for operation by the SS Battalions. 

 

 

 

To date, EADS North America has delivered a total of 134 UH-72As, all delivered on time and within budget. These aircraft are being used in missions across the U.S and Puerto Rico that include medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), search and rescue, drug interdiction, VIP transport and general aviation support. 

 

 

 

UH-72As have been deployed overseas as well, with aircraft now assigned to the U.S. Armys Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) in Germany for training and support operations, and based on the Pacific Oceans Kwajalein Atoll for transport and support missions at the Armys Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site. 

 

 

 

In another application for the Lakota, the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., operates five H-72A versions for the training of test pilots from the U.S. military and allied countries. 

 

 

 

The UH-72A is a Defense Acquisition Category (ACAT) I major defense acquisition program for the U.S. Defense Department, and it has marked one of the most rapid introductions of a new aircraft in the U.S. Armys history. Deliveries of the aircraft to National Guard units allow aging OH-58 and UH-1 rotary-wing aircraft to be retired, while UH-72As assigned to the active component of the U.S. Army free up UH-60 Black Hawks for assignment to warfighting missions. 

 

 

 

About American Eurocopter 

 

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 Eurocopters 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. Armys Light Utility Helicopter program. 

 

 

 

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 EUR 42.8 billion and employed a workforce of more than 119,000.

 

 

 

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