OPPOSING FORCE SOKOL

Combat Aircraft takes a look at the little-known UH-72A Lakota helicopters operated as ‘enemy forces’ at the National Training Center in southern California’s Mojave Desert.

A UH-72 Sokol and an 11th ACR ‘main battle tank’ — in fact, an adapted M113 armored personnel carrier. The ‘Sokol’ typically acts as a scout for the COEFOR armored units. The NTC’s UH-72s, known as ‘Sokols’, are fitted with engine inlet particle separators to minimize dust and sand ingestion.

THE US ARMY’S UH-72A Lakota is used for a wide variety of missions. National Guard units fly most examples, using the Lakota for medevac, search and rescue, VIP, border patrol, and other tasks providing assistance to civil authorities. The UH-72A was acquired by the Army to replace National Guard UH-1s and OH-58s, as well as to allow the transfer of UH-60 Black Hawks to active-duty Army units. A few other Lakotas are used by the active-duty Army as ‘enemy’ aviation forces at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, the Joint Readiness Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana, and the Joint Multi-national Readiness Center at Hohenfels, Germany.

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