The outgoing chairman and CEO of EADS North America Sean O’Keefe has urged the USAF to consider the UH-72A Lakota helicopter to replace ageing UH-1N Huey helicopters for the nuclear missile site protection mission.
In a letter to Acting Air Force Secretary Eric Fanning dated September 11, O’Keefe argued that the USAF’s current plan to refurbish the Hueys and maintain them would cost “…more than the acquisition and operation of (new) UH-72A Lakotas.” He added that the USAF will need to act soon as the US Army has almost finished acquiring its planned fleet of about 300 Lakotas and US production is “winding down.”
The UH-1Ns are used to transport maintenance and security personnel to the US’s vast ICBM missile fields in the Midwest, and have been in service since the 1970s and 1980s. The UH-72 is based on Airbus Helicopter’s successful commercial EC145 helicopter.
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