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Airbus Helicopters UH-72 Lakota


Twin-Engine Civilian / Military Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) (2007)


Aviation / Aerospace

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Front right side view of a Eurocopter UH-72 Lakota in flight
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Forward right side view of a hovering Eurocopter UH-72 Lakota
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Right side view of a hovering Eurocopter UH-72 Lakota
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Jump-to: Specifications

The Eurocopter UH-72 Lakota was an offshoot of the original LHX helicopter program of the 1980s, the same that produced the now-cancelled RAH-66 Comanche.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 09/09/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.
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The Airbus Helicopters UH-72 "Lakota" Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) was introduced with U.S. military forces in 2007. The aircraft became an offshoot of the Army's LHX (Light Helicopter, Experimental) program of the 1980s which also produced the since-cancelled Sikorsky RAH-66 "Comanche" light attack / reconnaissance platform. With the cancellation of said system, some of its remaining funds were reinvested to form a light utility model which became the UH-72. The UH-72 platform is based on the existing Eurocopter EC145 model introduced in 2002. Since production of the UH-72 began, some 300 examples have been delivered. Assembly is through Airbus Helicopters (formerly American Eurocopter) and the Lakota now serves the U.S. Army and Navy.

The adoption of the EC145 by the U.S. Army marks the first time it has procured a civilian market-borne helicopter platform for military service. The move was logistically-based, allowing for far lower overhead by utilizing an existing, proven system with off-the-shelf parts capability. It is intended as a replacement for the Bell OH-58 "Kiowa" series of light helicopters as well as the venerable Bell UH-1 "Huey" medium transport models.

The Lakota takes on a decidedly European look with its well-rounded body and heavily-glazed frontal section. Cockpit and cabin windows are large for increased situational awareness. A typical crew is two and passenger seating can be for up to eight or two medical litters (the latter in the MEDEVAC role). Access to the cabin is ample as the raised tail stem allows a "clamshell" style door assembly to be fitted along the aft fuselage. Additionally, there are sliding side doors for conventional entry / exit. The helicopter makes use of landing skids as opposed to more complex retracting wheeled landing legs. The main rotor sits close atop the cabin roof with an unprotected tail rotor fitted along the portside of the tail fin.

Power is served through 2 x Turbomeca Arriel 1E2 turboshaft engines developing 738 shaft horsepower each while driving a four-blade main rotor and two-blade tail rotor. Performance includes a maximum speed of 167 miles per hour with a cruising speed near 155 miles per hour. Range is out to 425 miles and service ceilings peak around 18,000 feet. Rate-of-climb is 1,600 feet per minute. Dimensions include a length of 42.6 feet with rotor diameter of 36 feet and height of 11.8 feet.

Operators beyond the U.S. Army and Navy now include Thailand which has six systems on order (2015). Another nine units were announced for procurement by the Southeast Asian nation.

Variants include the UH-72A which is the militarized form of the EC145 model. The UH-72B is being proposed as an upgraded A-model based on the newly arriving EC145 T2 model featuring uprated engines and upgraded avionics with new Fenestron shrouded tail rotor. The AAS-72X is another proposed mark as an armored light attack platform to replace the armed Bell OH-57D Kiowa Warrior in the same role. The AAS-72X+ is similar in product goal, though based on the newer EC145 T2 product model.

The U.S. Army is planning to field some 187 total Lakota helicopters as part of a new training program that already features fifty of the aircraft in 2015. These are replacing outgoing Bell TH-67 (Model 209) light helicopters in the same role. Sources also state a U.S. Army grand total of 338 Lakota helicopters and a United States Navy grand total of five helicopters.

July 2015 - The United States Army announced an order for sixteen more UH-72A helicopters from Airbus.

October 2017 - Airbus Helicopters has delivered its 400th UH-72 Lakota to the United States Army.

December 2018 - Airbus Helicopters is scheduled to deliver the last of the original 423 UH-72A models to the United States Army in February of 2018.

January 2018 - The United States Army announced that it will move to procure an additional 35 UH-72A models.

March 2018 - The U.S. Army has officially secured an order for thirty-five UH-72A helicopters.

September 2018 - The United States Army has ordered eleven additional UH-72A helicopters to be used for pilot training.

September 2020 - The United States Army will begin accepting a new-form Lakota, the UH-72B from Airbus Helicopters, into service in 2021. These will be the first to feature Fenestron-shrouded tail rotor units. As many as 17 examples are on order for the service in this guise.

September 2021 - Airbus Helicopters has delivered the first UH-72B example, with Fennestron shrouded tail rotor unit and five-bladed main rotor unit, to the United States Army National Guard.

Specifications



Service Year
2007

Origin
United States national flag graphic
United States

Status
ACTIVE
In Active Service.
Crew
2

Production
475
UNITS


Airbus Helicopters (Eurocopter North America) / American Eurocopter - USA
National flag of Thailand National flag of the United States Thailand; United States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Special-Mission: MEDical EVACuation (MEDEVAC)
Extraction of wounded combat or civilian elements by way of specialized onboard equipment and available internal volume or external carrying capability.
Special-Mission: Search & Rescue (SAR)
Ability to locate and extract personnel from areas of potential harm or peril (i.e. downed airmen in the sea).
Transport
General transport functionality to move supplies/cargo or personnel (including wounded and VIP) over range.


VERTICAL TAKE-OFF / LANDING (VTOL)
Series has a tactical capability to take-off and / or land vertically, a quality commonly associated with helicopters.
RADAR-CAPABLE
Houses, or can house (through specialized variants), radar equipment for searching, tracking, and engagement of enemy elements.
COUNTERMEASURES
Survivability enhanced by way of onboard electronic or physical countermeasures enacted by the aircraft or pilot/crew.
SHROUDED TAIL ROTOR
Tail rotor is housed within a Fennestron (or similar) protected multi-bladed arrangement, lowering operating noise and reducing foreign body intake threat.
RUGGED AIRFRAME
Inherent ability of airframe to take considerable damage.
MARITIME OPERATION
Ability to operate over ocean in addition to surviving the special rigors of the maritime environment.
CREW-MANAGED
Beyond a pilot, the aircraft takes advantage of additional crew specialized in specific functions aboard the aircraft.
ENCLOSED CREWSPACE(S)
Features partially- or wholly-enclosed crew workspaces.
ENHANCED ACCESS
Design incorporates feature(s) that facilitates loading / unloading of cargo / personnel from the aircraft.


Length
42.7 ft
(13.03 m)
Width/Span
36.1 ft
(11.00 m)
Height
11.3 ft
(3.45 m)
Empty Wgt
3,951 lb
(1,792 kg)
MTOW
7,904 lb
(3,585 kg)
Wgt Diff
+3,953 lb
(+1,793 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Airbus Helicopters UH-72A Lakota production variant)
Installed: 2 x Turbomeca Arriel IE2 turboshaft engines delivering 738 horsepower each driving four-bladed main rotor unit and Fenestron-shrouded (or open) tail rotor unit.
Max Speed
167 mph
(269 kph | 145 kts)
Ceiling
18,999 ft
(5,791 m | 4 mi)
Range
426 mi
(685 km | 1,269 nm)
Rate-of-Climb
1,600 ft/min
(488 m/min)


♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030


(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the Airbus Helicopters UH-72A Lakota production variant. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database. View aircraft by powerplant type)
Typically none. Military direct-attack / support-minded variants may be armed as needed.


Supported Types




(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
UH-72 - Base Series US Army Designation.
UH-72A - Base Production Model Designation.
UH-72B - Variant with Fennestron shrouded tail rotor unit; other upgrades/features.
H145 - Civilian market airframe on which the UH-72 series is based on.
EC 145 - Original Eurocopter branded designation of H145 civilian model.


Cockpit image of the Airbus Helicopters UH-72 Lakota
(Cockpit image represents the Eurocopter UH-72 Lakota production model)


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