Procurement: First UH-72A Export Sale


May 31,2008: The U.S. is supplying Malta with one of its new UH-72A ("Lakota") helicopters. The U.S. Army pays about $9 million for each of these twin engine helicopters, but Malta is getting them at a discount price of about $6 million. In the United States, the UH-72A is replacing the UH-60 for a lot of jobs that don't require a helicopter quite that large (about a third larger). Malta is the first export customer for the UH-72A.

The U.S. Army is buying 332 UH-72A (formerly called the UH-145) helicopters, from European firm EADS. The UH-72A is a militarized version of the EC145, a helicopter very popular with law enforcement agencies, including the FBI. The UH-72A purchase is a side effect of the cancellation of the Comanche helicopter, which was perceived as too expensive and complex. The UH-72A will mainly replace the aging UH-1 helicopters, which are being retired.

The UH-72A has about the same capacity as the UH-1, despite its smaller size. The 3.6 ton UH-72A has a top speed of 260 kilometers an hour and a max range of 660 kilometers. Average endurance per sortie is about two hours. The helicopter has a crew of two, and can carry up to eight passengers, or about three-quarters of a ton of cargo or weapons. The EC145 was introduced six years ago, and has been very popular with its users. By the end of the year, about fifty UH-72As will have been delivered to the U.S. Army.


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