By U.S. ArmyDecember 11, 2006
Army Unveils First Light Utility Helicopter UH-72A LAKOTA
Gen. Richard A. Cody, Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, and Joe Redcloud, Chief of Staff of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Lakota Nation, accepted the Army's first Lakota Light Utility Helicopter, UH-72A, in a ceremony today in Columbus, Mississippi.
"The Light Utility Helicopter - from concept development to material fielding to rapid deployment - is not only serving as a catalyst for change across the Army, it is also accelerating the speed of Army Aviation modernization and integration with other services and government agencies," said Cody.
The fielding of the LUH is part of an ongoing Army-level effort to transform its aviation capability through the deliberate reinvestment of funds from the canceled 2004 Comanche program.
The Army National Guard will receive the majority of the 322 new aircraft. Initial aircraft will be sent to the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif. for medical evacuation missions in January 2007 and will replace UH-60 Black Hawks which will be transferred to the National Guard for operational missions.
"The Lakota heralds a new beginning for our Army and for our communities across every state," said Cody. "It is our nation's responsibility and the Army's duty to provide our National Guard Soldiers with the tools they need to respond fully and rapidly to homeland security missions and national disasters. This exceptional platform will fly for years to come in America's skies. It is an aircraft we needed and we are proud to see it take flight."
The UH-72A is a commercial aircraft designed to conduct light general support tasks in permissive, non-combat environments. Those tasks include civil search and rescue, personnel recovery, evacuation, counter-drug and limited civil command and control operations in the conduct of Homeland Security.
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