U.S. Army National Guard to Operate First UH-72B in Arizona
After taking delivery of the first UH-72B Lakota helicopter in September last year, the U.S. Army National Guard is finalizing its training and will begin fielding the new helicopter with numerous state Guard units, beginning with Arizona. Subsequent states to operate the new five-bladed UH-72B include Colorado and New Mexico later this year, followed by additional National Guard units as new UH-72B helicopters are delivered.
“We are pleased to introduce this new variant of the proven Lakota in operation with our first National Guard units, as the capabilities of the new UH-72B will help us provide the safest and most modern solution to be successful in our essential missions,” says Mike Hadley, vice president of NGAUS. “We’re proud of the teams who work hard every day serving and protecting our nation, and we hope to be able to expand the UH-72B into other states’ fleets in the future.”
The UH-72B is the latest iteration of the proven commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) aircraft that has been the Army’s light utility helicopter since the first Lakota contract award and delivery in 2006. Based on the widely successful H145, the UH-72B incorporates technologies that increase both safety and flight performance, including the latest five-bladed main rotor, the Fenestron shrouded tail rotor, two Safran Arriel 2E engines, and the Airbus-designed Helionix avionics suite.
“The latest variant of the proven and mission-capable H145 family, the UH-72B is a welcome addition to the National Guard fleet for their critical missions saving lives, providing natural-disaster relief, interdicting illegal drugs, ensuring homeland security, and more,” says Scott Tumpak, vice president responsible for Airbus military helicopter programs in the U.S. “We’re proud to continue supporting the Lakota legacy of success and congratulate the Arizona National Guard on their inaugural UH-72B mission flights.”
The UH-72B Lakota delivers proven performance, outstanding operational reliability, and unmatched versatility for a broad spectrum of military missions. It is built at the Airbus Helicopters, Inc., production facility in Columbus, MS, by a workforce of nearly 250 employees made up of 40% U.S. veterans.