Lakotas go operational with National Guard

Nov. 8, 2011 at 5:34 AM
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ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 8 (UPI) -- EADS North America's first UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopter with the security and support battalion mission equipment package is in operational service.

The aircraft is flying with the Mississippi National Guard's Company C, 1st of the 114th Security and Support Battalion.

This first S&S Battalion UH-72A Lakota was built and retrofitted in Columbus, Miss., by the company's American Eurocopter business unit.

"This new configuration provides a significant capability increase for the Army National Guard and the federal, state and local government agencies they support," said Sean O'Keefe, chief executive officer of EADS North America.

"The S&S Battalion MEP expands the capabilities of the Army's UH-72A Lakota and further demonstrates this modern platform's flexibility for growth to support a broader range of demanding mission requirements."

The S&S Battalion MEP is the latest operational evolution of the UH-72A Lakota and provides National Guard units with the ability to seamlessly interface with and support federal, state and local law enforcement and first responders during disasters or emergencies, the company said.

The mission equipment package includes an electro-optical infrared sensor with a 5-mile range that provides still imagery and real-time streaming video to ground stations or command centers while an onboard computer can archive footage for later use by law enforcement.

Mission performance is augmented with enhanced radios, touch-screen monitors, Global Positioning System with street address capability and a 30 million candlepower search light.

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