Eurocopter, December 11, 2006 - Columbus, Mississippi, USA - EADS North America officially delivered the first UH-72A Light Utility Helicopter today to the U.S. Army, marking the beginning of this major defence program. The U.S. Army had selected the UH-145 (renamed UH-72A by the Army) in July 2006 with a requirement for up to 322 helicopters and a potential total life-cycle value of over $2 billion. To date, the Army has ordered a total of 42 UH-72As, along with the associated training services for pilots and maintenance personnel. The UH-72A is based on the commercially successful Eurocopter EC145 which has become the standard rotary aircraft for emergency medical service and high demanding utility missions.
This first UH-72A was received by the U.S. Army, in the presence of US senior officials and politicians, during a delivery and naming ceremony in Columbus, Mississippi, where Eurocopter’s US subsidiary, American Eurocopter, has a production site and will manufacture the twinengine helicopter. A second UH-72A will be delivered before year-end, responding early to the Army’s fast-paced requirement for the helicopter, which will be used on logistical and support missions within the United States. Forty more light utility helicopters currently are in the production cycle for delivery to the Army during 2007 and 2008.
At today’s delivery ceremony, the Army unveiled the UH-72A’s official name: Lakota, which is a Native American Indian tribe of the Great Sioux Nation. Naming the UH-72A the Lakota continues the service’s tradition of naming its helicopters after Native American tribes.
“This first delivery to such a prestigious client symbolises a major success for Eurocopter, since it’s the first time ever that together with EADS, we participate in the U.S. defence market”, said Lutz Bertling, CEO of Eurocopter. “It proves the quality, modernity and mission suitability of this helicopter. It creates a great opportunity to strengthen and increase the Eurocopter presence on the US market, with a major extension of our production facility in Mississippi and the creation of 250 to 300 US jobs. It is for Eurocopter the outcome of more than 40 years of cooperation with American companies and customer satisfaction.”
Eurocopter has been very active on the US market during the past decades and is today the leader in the civil and parapublic market, with more than 50% of this market. Eurocopter, and its US Subsidiary American Eurocopter, supplies helicopters to U.S. homeland security and law enforcement agencies across the United States, including the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the FBI.
EADS North America, who is acting as a prime contractor for the US Army, leads a UH-72A team of US industrial partners and subcontractors committed to delivering the best-value Light Utility Helicopter solution to this major customer.
The Columbus, Mississippi factory of American Eurocopter is undergoing a major expansion to support the UH-72A production, assembly and delivery. Industrial activity at Columbus is starting with the Light Utility Helicopter’s build-up and acceptance for delivery, and will subsequently transition to full-scale production with the facility expanding to a total covered area of 32,500 m2 to be completed in the fall of 2007. In addition to the UH-72A program, activity at the Columbus factory includes production/assembly of AS350 and EC120 helicopters for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other government/law enforcement agencies in North America, as well as support for the U.S. Coast Guard’s modernization of its HH-65 Dolphin helicopter fleet.
Created in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a Division of EADS, one of the top three aerospace companies in the world. The group employs 13,000 people. Its strong worldwide presence is insured by its 16 subsidiaries located on the five continents, along with a network of distributors and certified agents. 9,500 Eurocopter helicopters are currently operating in 139 countries on behalf of some 2,500 customers. Eurocopter offers the largest civil and military range in the world.The group now accounts for 30% of the world market. In 2005, Eurocopter secured its position as the world's No. 1, with a turnover of 3.2 billion euros - up by 15% over the 2004 turnover – with orders for 401 new helicopters, once again leading the way in the civil and parapublic sectors with a 52% market share.