EADS North America expects to begin deliveries of the Eurocopter UH-72A light utility helicopter (LUH) to the US Army before year-end after the US Government Accountability Office rejected protests from losing bidders AgustaWestland and MD Helicopters (MDHI). The LUH is EADS's first major US defence prime contract.
Eurocopter's EC145 light twin was selected for the 322-aircraft, $2.2 billion LUH programme in July and EADS was awarded an initial $43 million contract for eight helicopters, with deliveries beginning in November. But the contract was suspended after protests were filed by AgustaWestland, which had offered the AW139, and MDHI, which had proposed the MD Explorer.
Assembly of the first helicopters was already under way in Germany, and the US Army has said it believes Eurocopter will still be able to deliver aircraft this year because they are essentially commercial EC145s.
The LUH programme calls for production to be transferred to American Eurocopter's Columbus, Mississippi plant in four stages.