The Navy has received its first H-72A rotary-wing aircraft, which is based on the same platform as the Army’s UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopter. Both airframes are military versions of Eurocopter’s civilian EC145 helicopter and are manufactured at American Eurocopter’s facility in Columbus, Miss.
A fleet of five H-72As will be based at the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland and used for training of test pilots from the U.S. military and allied countries.
The Navy’s H-72As have several specific equipment additions for its pilot training mission, including jettisonable cockpit doors, a cockpit voice and flight data recorder, a main rotor blade folding kit, and an air traffic advisory system. All five H-72As will be configured in the Naval Test Pilot School’s high-visibility white and orange paint scheme.
American Eurocopter’s production of the UH-72A and H-72A is performed for EADS North America, which is the Army’s light utility helicopter prime contractor.