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This article was Originally Published on Oct 08, 2006 in Volume: 5  Issue: 2

LUH Program

The U.S. Army selected EADS North America Defense of Arlington, Va., to provide the service’s next-generation LUH. The program has a potential value of over $2 billion.

By Rodney L. Pringle

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The U.S. Army selected EADS North America Defense of Arlington, Va., to provide the service’s next-generation Light Utility Helicopter (LUH). On June 29, the Army awarded EADS an initial $43.09 million contract for the production and logistics support of the LUH program. The Army intends to purchase 322 LUH aircraft beginning in Fiscal Year 2007. The program has a potential value of more than $2 billion if additional options are exercised.

Colonel Cory Mahanna, the Army’s utility helicopter project manager at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., said the LUH contract award will have far-reaching effects on the service. “This fleet of U.S. Army aircraft will benefit America in crisis situations, like those associated with Hurricanes Katrina and Hugo, and the aftermath of the Mount St. Helens’ explosion,” Mahanna said. “The LUH will be our ‘first responder’ during future disaster scenarios. This new aircraft will give our soldiers an important new tool for use in the defense and security of our homeland.”

The LUH program is expected to take the place of aging UH-1 Hueys and OH-58 aircraft. It will perform a series of domestic missions, including medical evaluations, passenger and logistics transportation and homeland security missions. The primary users for the plane will be the active Army units and the Army National Guard. The service chose EADS’ UH-145 as the winner of the LUH competition. “We’re pleased that the UH-145 was chosen by the U.S. Army for this important mission and gratified that this selection demonstrates the service’s confidence in our ability to meet the fast-paced delivery schedule and support requirements of these critical Army aircraft,” said Ralph D. Crosby Jr., EADS North America’s chairman and CEO. “We look forward to a long association with the U.S. Army.”

EADS North America leads a UH-145 team of companies that includes four primary partners: its American Eurocopter business unit, which will handle the helicopter’s production, assembly and delivery; Sikorsky Aircraft, responsible for contractor logistics support; WestWind Technoligies, for systems integration and engineering support; and CAE, the supplier of UH-145 cockpit procedural trainers.

UH-145 program management will be located in Huntsville, Ala., and led by the EADS North America Defense business unit of EADS North America. Subcontractors that will be used on the program, the company said, include Aerolite, Armor Holdings, the NORDAM Group, Keith Products, Thales USA, Turbomeca USA and Wulfsberg Electronics.

“When EADS North America was created four years ago, we committed to in-source U.S. jobs of high value, bring the best technology to America, and contribute to homeland security,” Crosby said. “The UH-145 will enable us to deliver once again on all three promises, while providing the Army with an optimum solution from a team of leading U.S. suppliers.” Other offerings for the competition were AgustaWestland and L-3 Communications’ US139 helicopter, MD Helicopters’ MD Explorer and Bell Textron’s 412 EP.

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