Airbus Helicopters has delivered the first UH-72B, the latest variant of its Lakota helicopter, to the US Army National Guard from its production facility in Columbus, Mississippi, and is the first of 18 of the type currently on order to support the National Guard’s missions.
The UH-72B is the latest iteration of the commercial, off-the-shelf aircraft that has been the US Army’s Light Utility Helicopter since the first Lakota contract award in 2006.
“The Lakota helicopter has been a staple of the Army for more than 15 years now, and we look forward to benefitting from the latest technologies and performances that the newest 72B variant will provide,” said Col Calvin Lane, US Army project manager for Utility Helicopters.
Based on the H145, the UH-72B incorporates technologies to increase safety and flight performance, including the five-bladed main rotor, the Fenestron shrouded tail rotor, Safran Arriel 2E engines, and the Airbus-designed Helionix avionics suite.
The Helionix suite includes a dual-duplex, four-axis autopilot to provide flight envelope and over-limit protection, automated takeoff, and fully-coupled approaches to hover, the company stated in a September 7 release.