UH-72 Lakota

Product Type:

Light Utility Helicopter

Using Service (US):


Program Status:

In Full Rate Production (FRP)

Prime Contractor:

EADS North America - American Eurocopter

The U.S. Army's UH-72 Lakota

About the UH-72 Lakota:

The Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter) UH-72 Lakota Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) is a twin-engine U.S. Army multi-role utility helicopter. The Lakota is the military version of the EC145 (in production since 2002), which is used worldwide for law enforcement, emergency medical transportation, search and rescue, offshore operations, and as corporate transport.

The UH-72 provides reliable and sustainable general and administrative support in permissive environments at reduced acquisition and operating costs. According to EADS North America, the UH-72 is 30-50% less costly to operate than the UH-60 Black Hawk. The Lakota is one of the most versatile and functional helicopters in its weight class. The easily reconfigurable main cabin of the Lakota maximizes mission flexibility, while the sliding side and rear clamshell doors provide easy access to the main cabin and enable effective utilization of available space.

The UH-72 is powered by two Turbomeca ARRIEL 1E2 turboshaft engines delivering up to 738 shp each. With a maximum takeoff weight of 7,903 pounds, it carries a useful load of 3,953 pounds and has a maximum cruise speed of 167 mph (269 km/h).

On June 30, 2006, the U.S. Army selected the UH-145 (later designated UH-72A) for its Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) program. Deliveries commenced in December 2006. The Army has a total procurement objective of 315 aircraft. The first operational unit was equipped on June 19, 2007 (within 7 year of contract award), making the UH-72 one of the most rapid aircraft introductions in the history of the Army. The UH-72 will replace the UH-1N Huey and the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior. Full Rate Production (FRP) of the UH-72A was approved by the Army on September 4, 2007.

As of March 31, 2013, 255 UH-72As had been delivered. 54 aircraft have been equipped with the Engine Inlet Barrier Filter (EIBF), 78 aircraft have the MEDEVAC mission kit, 92 aircraft have been outfitted with Environmental Control Units (ECU), 229 aircraft have been equipped with secure communications, and 12 aircraft have been equipped with the Very Important Personnel (VIP) package. In October 2013, EADS North America (now Airbus Group) announced it had delivered 284 Lakotas and that 150,000 flight hours had now been accumulated. On May 14, 2014, Airbus Group delivered the 300th UH-72A Lakota helicopter. The Lakota fleet has recently surpassed the 200,000 flight hour mark.

The manufacturing of the UH-72 is the responsibility of American Eurocopter, a business unit of EADS North America. Production takes place at the company's Columbus, Mississippi facility and averages three to four helicopters per month. Other members of the UH-72A production team include Aerolite, Armor Holdings/Simula, BAE Systems, CAE, Goodrich Corporation (now United Technologies), Keith Products, L-3 Communications, Labarge, Luminator, NORDAM Group, Sagem Avionics, Sikorsky - United Technologies (provides Contractor Logistics Support), Thales North America, Turbomeca USA, Whelen, and Wulfsberg Electronics.

On November 13, 2012, EADS North America announced it had received a $181.8 million U.S. Army contract to deliver 34 UH-72As.




In FY 2014, the unit cost of a UH-72A helicopter is $8.56 million (flyaway cost) of which the airframe makes up $5.48 million.

Program Cost:

The total procurement cost of the UH-72A LUH program is $1.81 billion (estimated by the DoD) + $3.1 million in research and development (RDT&E) funds, which means the total estimated program cost is $1.81 billion (numbers are aggregated annual funds spent over the life of the program and no price/inflation adjustment was made).


The UH-72 Light Utility Helicopter will provide organic general support at corps and division levels. The primary mission for the LUH is to provide aerial transport for logistical and administrative support.

FY 2014 DoD Program:

FY 2014 funds in the amount of $171.2M supports the purchase of 20 helicopters as well as fielding, engineering services, training, program office support, and modifications for UH-72A aircraft.

FY 2015 DoD Program:

FY 2015 funds in the amount of $171.2M supports the purchase of 55 helicopters as well as fielding, engineering services, training, program office support, and production/retrofit modifications for UH-72A aircraft. The LUH acquisition strategy is based on a competitive procurement of a commercial off-the-shelf, non-developmental aircraft.

For more information, click to view the Complete FY 2015 DoD UH-72 Budget.

Source: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and EADS North America (Airbus Group).

Specifications Armament DoD Spending FY2015 Budget

Last Update: June 6, 2014.

By Joakim Kasper Oestergaard /// (jkasper@bga-aeroweb.com)

External Resources:

Eurocopter's UH-72 Site: Eurocopter UH-72 Lakota/EC145
Official UH-72 Site: Eurocopter UH-72 Lakota

Turbomeca: Turbomeca ARRIEL 1E2 Turboshaft Engine

YouTube: UH-72 Lakota | YouTube Videos

Fact Sheet: Eurocopter UH-72 Lakota | Fact Sheet

Total UH-72 Program Cost:

 $1.81 billion  ($1.81B procurement + $3.1M RDT&E)

UH-72 Procurement Objective:

  315 aircraft

UH-72 U.S. Defense Budget Charts:

DoD Spending on the UH-72 Lakota in FY 2011, FY 2012, FY 2013, FY 2014 and FY 2015
DoD Purchases of UH-72 Lakota Helicopters in FY 2011, FY 2012, FY 2013, FY 2014 and FY 2015
Defense Budget Data

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DoD Spending, Procurement and RDT&E: FY 2011/12/13 + Budget for FYs 2014 + 2015

DoD Defense Spending, Procurement, Modifications, Spares, and RDT&E for the UH-72 Lakota

Download Official U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Budget Data:

Purchases of UH-72A Helicopters (ARMY)

Aircraft Specifications: UH-72A Lakota

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Primary Function: Utility helicopter
Prime Contractor: EADS North America - American Eurocopter
Power Plant: 2x Turbomeca ARRIEL 1E2 turboshaft engines with 738 shp (each engine)
Length: Fuselage: 33.4 ft (10.18 m); w/rotating rotor: 42.7 ft (13.01 m)
Height: 11.3 ft (3.44 m)
Width: Fuselage: 5.7 ft (1.74 m)
Rotor Diameter: Main: 36.1 ft (11 m); Tail: 6.4 ft (1.95 m)
Weight (Empty): 3,950 lbs (1,792 kg)
Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW): 7,903 lbs (3,585 kg);
Payload: 3,953 lbs (1,793 kg)
Capacity: 8 troops or 2 stretchers and medical crew
Speed: Cruise: 131 kts/151 mph (243 km/h); Max: 145 kts/167 mph (269 km/h)
Rate of climb: 1,600 ft/min (8.13 m/s)
Service Ceiling: 18,000 ft (5,791 m); Hover Ceiling IGE: 11,300 ft (3,444 m); Hover Ceiling OGE: 9,000 ft (2,743 m)
Range: 370 nm/426 miles (685 km)
Armament/Weapons: None
Crew: Two
Price/Unit Cost: $8.56 million flyaway cost (in FY 2014)
Deployed: June 19, 2007 (first operational unit)

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