Just as we like to celebrate our birthday, military aircraft and warships celebrate milestones in their career within the U.S. Air Force, Navy, or National Guard. One of them, the UH-72 Lakota helicopter, just celebrated a huge milestone, announced at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) trade show, in Washington, D.C. The Airbus UH-72 Lakota fleet has reached one million flight hours with U.S. Army, Navy, and National Guard units.
It’s been 15 years since the first Lakota UH-72A entered service within the U.S. Army, when it was selected as the new light utility helicopter. No less than 463 units of the first Lakota model were delivered since then and served as entry rotary-wing training helicopters. Only a month ago, the National Guard added the new UH-72B version to its fleet, after an order placed in 2020.
By the end of this month, the new Lakota will be operational for military units within the Army and the National Guard of 45 states. It also serves as a key asset for the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, the test range mission at the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific, and for U.S. Army combat training operations at several military bases.
Versatile and reliable, the Lakota helicopter can be deployed for a variety of operations, from search and rescue, disaster response, homeland security, and drug interdiction, to command and control, and VIP transport. Lakota helicopters have proven to be essential for responding to wildfires, hurricanes, and other natural disasters, including the recent ones in Haiti.
The new UH-72B is based on a commercial model and boasts more powerful engines, advanced controls, plus the Airbus Helionix avionics suite. With one million flight hours reached so far, the Lakota helicopters have proven their incredible performance, reliability, and versatility, and are ready to mark the next million flight hours.