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In the future, the US Army will use the latest version of the UH-72B Lakota 2021 light multipurpose helicopter. The manufacturer Airbus announced that of the helicopters ordered this year, 17 UH-72B will be delivered in 2021. So far, Airbus has delivered 460 UH-72A to the US Army, the US Marine Corps and the National Guard. In September, the last UH-72A - then number 463 - will roll off the assembly line in Columbus, Missouri.

The “B” model will differ significantly from the “A” variant. The Lakota project is based on the Airbus H145M helicopter. The UH-72B (Utility Helicopter) will be equipped with a Fenestron tail rotor, which the current A-model does not have. In addition, there is a more powerful engine technology, "improved" controls and the Airbus Helionix avionics suite. The Army National Guard will be the first customer.

“Since we first started using the UH-72 Lakota around 15 years ago, this helicopter has been the workhorse of the Army and the National Guard, saving lives, helping in disasters, training thousands of pilots and, more importantly, contributed to protecting our communities and our country. The acquisition of the UH-72B Lakota offers tremendous value with no research and development costs for the Army, ”said Colonel Calvin Lane, US Army project manager.

Since the program began in 2006, the Army and National Guard have completed nearly 800,000 flight hours. It is used as a training helicopter, as well as for Search & Rescue (SAR) missions, Medical Evacuation (MedEvac) or border surveillance against drug smuggling.

The Airbus H145M helicopter is also used in the Bundeswehr by the helicopter squadron 64 (HSG 64) as the H145M LUH SOF (Light Utility Helicopter Special Operation Forces). The helicopters are used to support the special forces - Command Special Forces (KSK) and Command Special Forces Marine (KSM). Germany flies 15 of these machines of the latest variant with the Fenestron tail rotor. Just recently, Airbus presented a further product improvement with the five-blade rotor, which in addition to quieter running performance, above all enables more payload. The H145 version is also used in Germany as a training helicopter and as an H145 LUH SAR (Search & Rescue). Seven machines were procured for the SAR order.

André Forkert