Commissioned to replace the UH-1H Iroquois and OH-58 A/C Kiowa helicopters, the UH-72A Lakota light utility rotorcraft is specifically engineered to meet the needs of the U.S. Army. Production of UH-72A Lakotas take place from Airbus Helicopter Inc.’s new assembly and production plant in Columbus, Mississippi. Built upon the Airbus EC145 multirole helicopter design, the UH-72A mainly performs logistics and support missions for the U.S. Army, as well as medevac, homeland security, and drug interdiction operations.
Since the Lakota's 2006 debut, the U.S. Army is required to maintain a fleet of 345 UH-72A Lakotas—a program life-cycle valued at USD$2 billion. So far, Airbus Helicopters Inc. has delivered 290 units to the U.S. Army, Navy, and National Guard. This year, the Army plans to acquire 20 more Lakota helicopters.
For its navigation and communication systems, the Lakota is integrated with Prescott, Arizona-based Wulfsberg Electronics’ suite of DME transceivers, dual VHF communications transceivers, and dual VHF navigation receivers with VOR, ILS, and marker beacons. The tactical communications system consists of an RT-5000 wideband transceiver operating at 29MHz to 960 MHz, and dual P-2000 tactical communications transceivers.
With a cabin large enough for eight troops, the UH-72A is outfitted with BAE System’s Simula passenger seats which are composed of aramid and graphite composites that meet FAA crash-worthiness standards. Addison, Texas-based Keith Products manufactures the heating, ventilation, and cooling systems of the Lakota helicopter. To improve situational awareness and diminish pilot workload, the UH-72A’s VEMD (Vehicle and Engine Multifunction Display) and night vision goggle (NVG) compatible glass cockpit synthesizes flight and vehicle data.
Powered by two TurbomecaArriel 1E2 turboshaft engines with each supplying 55kW of take-off power and 516kW of continuous power, the UH-72A Lakota’s proven hingeless rotor system operates with minimal vibration and noise signatures to make the helicopter stealthy and unassuming when approaching enemy targets.
The general characteristics of the UH-72A Lakota are as follows:
|Maximum Weight||7,903 pounds|
|Empty Weight||3,951 pounds|
|Capacity||2 pilots and 6 passengers|
|Powerplant||Two Turbomeca Arriel 1E2|
|Fast Cruise Speed||133 knots|
|Overall Length with Blade in Front||42.65 feet|
|Minimum Width with all Blades||36.09 feet|
|Overall Width with 2 Blades Removed||10.24 feet|
|Useful Load||3,953 pounds|
|Usable Fuel Capacity (Standard Tank)||229 gallons|
|Cabin Volume||166.43 square feet|
|Baggage Compartment Volume||46.72 square feet|
|Rate of Climb at Sea Level||1,600 fpm|
|Service Ceiling||13,181 feet|
|Hover Ceiling in Ground Effect||11,300 feet|
|Hover Ceiling OGE||9,000 feet|
|Range at Sea Level with Standard Tank||370 nm|