EADS resignations overshadow stunning win for UH-145 for US Army

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EADS North America has won the hard-fought deal to supply the US Army's new Light Utility Helicopter in a dramatic win for its UH-145.

News of the victory, announced by the US Army, was quickly overtaken by the resignations of Noel Forgeard and Gustav Humbert, but the deal is nevertheless a major one - covering up to 352 aircraft with a potential life-cycle value of $3 billion.

It cements the remarkable success of Eurocopter in challenging the long-time domination of Bell Helicopter Textron and Sikorsky in the US military helicopter market.

EADS beat Bell's 412EP and MD Helicopter's MD902 Explorer for the contract.

The UH-145, derived from the EC145 design, was submitted by a team consisting of aircraft-producer American Eurocopter; Sikorsky, handling contractor logistics support; WestWind Technologies providing systems integration and engineering support; and CAE of Canada which will produce cockpit procedural trainers.   

A wide range of US sub-contractors are also involved, reflecting EADS' strategy of being seen to provide quality US aerospace employment.

The UH-145 will be built at American Eurocopter's Columbus, Mississippi plant, where it will initially be partially assembled and eventually fully assembled.