More than 412 Lakotas have been delivered to the US military since 2005, according to Airbus. Almost all of the aircraft were received by the Army, though the Navy has a handful as well.
That’s a nice looking helicopter!
My old man got to fly one intended to be entered into whatever they had for the new armed scout competition about 5 years ago; he was impressed by it.
Largest issue was more along the politics of how and why they got it. Originally it was intended to go to the Guard to take over a lot of the missions the old 58A/Cs were doing (border patrol, drug interdiction stuff), then slowly got pushed into a bunch of other roles to which it wasn’t equipped for; in doing so, they weighed it down a lot and inevitably found themselves in a bit of a pickle. When they restructured Army aviation a few years back and ditched all the 58s and TH-67s (along with a few legacy UH-1s they had still been using), they shifted the 72s to the active side and pushed them into the trainer role at Rucker. This is considered to be something of a waste since the 72 is quite a hotrod compared to the old TH-67s.
FWIW my father flew in flight school on the old Hughes 300.
My understanding of the Lakotas in US Service was the helo’s contract forbid them from being deployed, hence their very limited mission use.
During a recent trip to Key Field, a pair came in for fuel. Impressive little helicopters with room for mission expansion.
Looks like there is an H145 being developed for X-Plane.
There seems to be a recent trend in the US military to buy European aircraft that are sensible and relatively cheap to fill the gap below the domestic stuff that is bloated and expensive. The U-28, C-295M and C-27J come to mind. Well the C-27J wasn’t exactly cheap but compared to the Herc, it came off the Dollar Menu.
A few years back there was talk of deploying them to the sandbox, so I doubt there is any real teeth to such a stipulation. It’d be rather silly to have a contract that would spec non-deployable. If they really needed them, they likely would send them over, but fact is that the '60s and '47s handle the vast majority of deployed needs, with contractors taking over the remainder.
A lot of that stems from Army aviation and they tend to be a bit more practical than the Air Force when it comes to procurement. The C-27 was intended to replace the C-23 (because the AF hates the tac airlift mission, especially when it comes to short, improvised fields) and it only went to the AF when they pitched a fit over the Army taking the AF’s budgetary pie. Naturally, like most Army aviation assets, the AF reneged on their promise to run them for the Army and made a rather expensive mothball of it.
Other aircraft like the U-28 are procured in limited numbers for executive transport and the like, so a lot of traditional defense project bulll doesn’t typically apply.
The USAF procurement process has been in shambles for quite some time.
That’s kinda DOD as a whole but the AF does seem to have the worst case of ADD of all the branches when it comes to procurement.