The Edmond Sun

January 3, 2013

Okla. National Guard to receive new helicopters

The Edmond Sun

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Army National Guard officials announced Thursday the organization will receive four UH-72A “Lakota” helicopters this year.

According to information released by the Oklahoma National Guard the Lakota is the U.S. Army’s new multi-mission light utility helicopter. The helicopters will replace four OH-58C “Kiowa” helicopters that have been in service for more than 30 years.

Oklahoma Army National Guard aircrews and aircraft maintainers are currently undergoing training at several locations throughout the southwest preparing for the UH-72’s arrival.

The first two Lakotas are due to arrive in April, the final two in May. Deliveries are from a 317,000-square-foot assembly and production facility at American Eurocopter’s Columbus, Miss., plant.

A twin-engine platform with a single four-bladed main rotor, the Lakota is a militarized version of the Eurocopter EC145 built by EADS North America. It has a maximum weight of 7,903 pounds, a fast cruise speed of 133 knots (about 68 mph) and can hold one or two pilots and up to nine troops, according to American Eurocopter.

Pilots benefit from the Lakota’s vehicle and engine multifunction display and its night vision goggle compatible glass cockpit, which synthesizes flight and vehicle information, increasing situational awareness and reducing crew workload.

The new helicopters will significantly increase the Oklahoma National Guard’s ability to conduct emergency support missions, the Guard stated. Its primary missions will include homeland security, disaster response, firefighting command and control and medical evacuations.