Eurocopter UH-72 Lakota

The Eurocopter UH-72A Lakota is the U.S. Army’s new multi-mission  Light Utility Helicopter (LUH).  The UH-72A is a twin-engine helicopter with a single, four-bladed main rotor. The UH-72 is a militarized version of the Eurocopter EC145 and is built by American Eurocopter division of EADS North America. Selected in June 2006 following a rigorous  evaluation, it combines operational capability, reliability   and affordability, fulfilling  all of the Army’s requirements for  speed,  range, endurance  and overall performance.

Developing nation: USA.
Manufacturer/designer: American Eurocopter .
Production Lines: Columbus, Mississippi
Type aircraft:  multi-mission  Light Utility Helicopter (LUH).
First flight: 12 June 1999 EC145.
First delivery:  December 11, 2006
State: in service.
Developed from: Eurocopter EC145

Eurocopter was awarded a production contract for 345 Lakota Armed Scout’s to replace ageing UH-1H Huey and the OH-58A/C Kiowa Warrior’s. Delivery of the planned 345 aircraft is expected to continue until 2017. The first Lakotas were delivered to the U.S. Army on December 11, 2006 and the first operational unit  was equipped within 11 months of the contract award, making the UH-72 one of the most rapid aircraft introductions in the history of the Army.

Armed Aerial Scout

The Armed Scout 645 (EC645) is a proposed armed version of the UH-72 for the US Army’s Armed Aerial Scout OH-58D replacement program being offered by EADS and Lockheed Martin. The companies announced a teaming agreement for the Armed Scout 645 on 4 May 2009. Three flight demonstrator aircraft named AAS-72X were built in 2010. They began flight testing in late 2010.

 

Variants

  • UH-72A Lakota An unarmed utility military version of the EC 145.
  • AAS-72XA proposed armed version of the UH-72 for the US Army’s Armed Aerial Scout OH-58D replacement program being offered by EADS and Lockheed Martin.
  • AAS-72X+ An armed military version of the Eurocopter EC145 also proposed for the Armed Aerial Scout program. Also, it is equipped with more powerful engines with an extra 200 horsepower each, and a fully digital glass cockpit.

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2 pilots
  • Capacity: 8 troops or 2 stretchers and medical crew
  • Length: 13.03 m (42 ft 7 in)
  • Rotor diameter: 11.00 m (36 ft 1 in)
  • Height: 3.45 m (11 ft 9 in)
  • Disc area: 94.98 m² (1,023 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 1,792 kg (3,950 lb)
  • Useful load: 1,793 kg (3,953 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 3,585 kg (7,903 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Turbomeca Arriel 1E2 turboshafts, 738 shp (551 kW) each

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 269 km/h (145 knots, 167 mph)
  • Cruise speed: 246 km/h (133 knots, 153 mph)
  • Range:  685 km (370 nmi, 426 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 5,791 m (18,000 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 8.13 m/s (1,600 ft/min)

All pictures courtesy of Zijde Aviation Photo and Publishing, Rob Vogelaar