COLUMBUS, Miss.–Free rides were given in the Lakota helicopters manufactured in Mississippi after a celebration in Columbus Wednesday. Airbus Helicopters, Inc. handed over its 300th model UH-72A chopper to the U.S. Army, and the orders just keep coming.
The Lakota is now one of just four models that the U.S. Army plans to operate, said Sam Adcock, general manager of Airbus.
Each chopper sells to the Army for about $5.5 million, and about 300 workers are now employed making them in Columbus.
“It is with a great deal of satisfaction that we learn that the Lakota will once again be helping the Army meet a very critical need by becoming the platform by which the Army is modernizing its training mission.”said Airbus executive Allan McArtor.
He said the company is about to begin making the A-S 350 helicopter in September, and that chopper is expected to be used by the Miss. Highway Patrol.
“The on-time and on-budget delivery of the 300th Lakota is a testament to the hardworking employees in Columbus,” said Sen. Roger Wicker in a Wednesday statement. “These Mississippians are helping provide our military with the best equipment available at the lowest cost. Lakotas are used by multiple branches of the armed forces to keep Americans secure. I applaud the men and women who work diligently every day to produce these high–tech vehicles.”
“Our Army and National Guard forces rely on the good work of the Mississippians who manufacture the Lakota helicopters. I’m proud of the excellent work done at this plant in Columbus, as well as the confidence that the Defense Department has in the final product,” said Sen. Thad Cochran in a statement.
The Airbus Group facility at Columbus was recently awarded two defense contracts to continue production of the UH-72A Lakota helicopters for both the U.S. Army and the Royal Thailand Army. Together, those contracts totaled more than $56.8 million.