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Eurocopter EC-145 / UH-72 Lakota




Incorporation of EC 135 technology into the BK 117 began in 1997. Named EC 145 in late 1990, but retains engineering designation BK 117C-2 and is marketed in Japan as such.

The first flight of German aircraft (D-HMBK) (unannounced) was on 12 June 1999, and the first flight of Japanese prototype was on 15 March 2000. A third prototype (D-HMBL) joined the programme on 14 April 2000, and fourth (D-HMBM) on 27 October 2000. Kawasaki builds tail section; Eurocopter responsible for forward section. Certification by LBA received 12 December 2000; commercial launch at Paris Air Show, June 2001; FAA certification awarded 14 February 2002, coincident with type's formal "introduction" at HeliExpo, Orlando, Florida.

Launch customer was French Securite Civile, which ordered 32 in December 1997 for delivery between and 2006 to replace Alouette III; two preproduction examples delivered May 2001 for familiarisation; first production example (F-ZBPA) formally handed over at Nimes-Garons 24 April 2002; initial batch of 15 received by mid-2003. Second customer is French Gendarmerie, with firm order for eight placed in 1999; deliveries began and initial batch of five received by mid-2003. ADAC (German Automobile Club) ordered two in June 2001 to become civilian launch customer; delivery in 2002. Eight ordered in 2001, including four for Rega HEMS in Switzerland, delivered from 21 November 2002. Two for Hesse Police (Germany) delivered from April 2002.

The Securite Civile contract was valued at US$170 million. Flyaway cost reported as US$4.9 million (2000).




The BK 117 fuselage was redesigned forward of engines; new nose, based on EC 135, provides improved visibility. Main rotor blades are same diameter as BK 117, but have EC 135 profile. The EC-145 has composite main rotor blades with a rigid rotor system. Redesigned tail rotor.

Two Turbomeca Arriel 1E2 turboshafts, each rated at 550kW for take-off, 516kW maximum continuous and 574kW for 2 1/2 minutes' OEI. Main transmission rated at 776kW for twin-engine T-O, 632kW maximum continuous, for single-engine operarion 551kW allowed for 2 1/2 minutes, 404kW for maximum continuous. Standard fuel contained in main tank, usable capacity 741.5 litres and left and right supply tanks, usable capacities 59 litres and 67 litres respectively, for total capacity of 867.5 litres. Optional long-range tanks increase usable capacity to 1,086 litres.

Compared with BK 117, cabin is more spacious through removal of centre post and door supports.



America's world-predominant aerospace industry, particularly in the rotary-wing field, also failed to prevail in the US Army's selection for its major Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) programme to replace an initial 322 Bell UH-IHs and OH-58A/Cs over ten years. Despite an impressive range of indigenous options, the US Army was allowed preference for EADS/Eurocopter's UHA45.

This is the military version of the civil utility twin Turbomeca Arriel 1E2 turboshaft-engined EC145, redesignated UH-72A Lakota (an American Indian tribe) by the US Army. Part production and overall assembly will be undertaken in the USA by American Eurocopter in Columbus, Mississippi, and Turbomeca USA in Grand Prairie, Texas.


The 100th example of the UH-72A Lakota 09-72100IN697AE (c/n 9315) was handed over to the US Army on March 4 2010 at American Eurocopter's production facility in Columbus, Mississippi. It was to be assigned the Combat Training Center of the Joint Multinational Readiness Command at Hohenfels, Germany. There it was to be equipped with a Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES), a SMart On-Board Data Interface Module (SMODIM), and an electronic data manager.




Engine: 2 x Turbomeca Arriel 1E2 turboshaft, 770 shp.
Main rotor diameter: 11.0m
Tail rotor diameter: 1.96m
Overall length, rotors turning: 13.03m
Fuselage length: 10.19m
Height overall, rotors turning: 3.96m
Height to top of main rotor head: 3.45m
Max T-O weight: 3585kg
Empty weight: 1792kg
Max underslung load: 1500kg
Max speed: 145 kts.
Never exceed speed (3000kg T-O weight): 278km/h
Max cruising speed: 252km/h
Max rate of climb: 674m/min
Service ceiling: 5485m
Hovering ceiling, IGE: 4695m
Hovering ceiling, OGE: 4345m
Range at normal cruising speed, standard fuel: 700km
Range at normal cruising speed, optional fuel: 875km






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