"It maintains consistently 90 percent operational availability rates," Col. Thomas Todd, project manager for Army utility helicopters said. "We obviously take a lot of pride in the fact that 90 percent means (a commander) gets nine out of 10 to fly.
"It makes that unit commander, no matter where they are and what mission they are performing, more effective."
The UH-72A, which is approaching 100,000 flight hours with the Army, is made by American Eurocopter. The Army is buying 345 Lakotas, a light utility aircraft viewed as a replacement for the service's OH-58As and C Kiowas. It has a cruise speed of 153 miles per hour, a range of 426 miles, and a service ceiling of 18,000 feet.
The helicopter is a modified version of Eurocopter's commercial aircraft, the EC-145, and can be configured with mission equipment packages to support medical evacuation, VIP transport and security and support.
A number of aircraft are performing counter-narcotics missions along the U.S.-Mexico border.
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