A hail and farewell scheduled for Friday will celebrate war fighters of a mechanical variety when two new helicopters are officially welcomed to the West Point fleet while the old are fondly bid goodbye.

A pair of UH-72A Lakotas are replacing the current UH-1 Iroquois in West Point's 2nd Aviation Detachment. The hail and farewell ceremony is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday at the 2nd Avn. Det. headquarters. The Lakotas are coming to West Point as part of an Armywide effort to upgrade aging helicopter fleets. The American Eurocopter Lakota is a light utility helicopter for Army missions within the United States and replaces the Vietnam War-era Iroquois.

The two helicopters are Nos. 42 and 43 from a contract to purchase 345 Lakotas, Chief Warrant Officer-5 Dan Jollota, commander of 2nd Avn. Det., said.

The Lakotas, which will be used to transport West Point officials and visitors as well as support cadet activities, have two engines, a glass cockpit and three-access autopilot, "which will reduce risk and enhance the capabilities of the flight detachment," Jollota said.

The Lakotas are faster than the Iroquois and have a better climb performance. They also have modern avionics and special navigation packages with back-ups that work automatically in case the main system fails.

Having such an advanced airframe is fitting for an installation that trains future leaders, Jollota said.

"West Point produces future aviation officers, and the UH-72A Lakota will serve as an example of the latest technological advance in aviation," Jollota said.