Airbus to roll out more Lakotas
Airbus will finally start delivering on a 16 UH-72A Lakota order with the US Army after rival manufacturer Leonardo dropped a lawsuit that had delayed the order for two years in February.
The French manufacturer signed the $116 million contract last week to begin delivery of the aircraft. This comes after a separate 35-aircraft Lakota deal signed earlier this month.
The Army first decided to procure the 16 helicopters in 2016.
In 2014, the US Army named the Lakota as its institutional training helicopter – a decision that caused Leonardo to file a complaint and restraining order against any further orders due to a supposedly ‘uncompetitive’ selection process. Leonardo dropped the restraining order against the 16-helicopter order after the order was repealed by the Federal Circuit in January.
This contract requests 16 UH-72A aircraft outfitted in a training configuration, along with technical and flight-operator manuals and full training program management.
Chris Emerson, president and CEO of Airbus Helicopters and head of the company’s North America operations said: “We are proud of our partnership with the U.S. Army. As the world’s best Helicopter Trainer provider, we recognize how important an asset the Lakota is for Army Aviation and our nation. Our employees at Airbus are committed to delivering every aircraft on-cost and on-schedule, without exception.”
“Our mission of providing this vital national asset is crucial to the protection of our country and the closure of the pilot shortage gap.”
Airbus has delivered more than 423 UH-72A Lakotas from its military aircraft facility in Columbus, Ms since the companies first Lakota contract in 2005.