The 449th Combat Aviation Brigade, North Carolina Army National Guard held an acceptance ceremony November 9, 2022 upon receiving two upgraded UH-72B Models of the Lakota helicopter at the NCNG Army Aviation Flight Facility #1, in Morrisville, NC.
The NCNG joins eight other states in accepting the new model which provides enhanced mission capabilities and safety. The ceremony included speeches from NCNG leadership and representatives from Airbus, U.S. Space and Defense, as well as an exchange of gifts.
“We are excited to enter this next phase of partnership with the U.S. Army National Guard, offering our newest addition to the already capable H145 family. We look forward to supporting the National Guard fleet with the UH-72B as we have done for nearly two decades with our UH-72A variant,” said Scott Tumpak, Vice President responsible for Airbus military helicopter programs in the U.S.
The enhanced model provides a plethora of new features, to include the latest five-bladed main rotor, the Fenestron shrouded tail rotor, two Safran Arriel 2E engines, and the Airbus-designed Helionix avionics suite. The UH-72B is built at the Airbus Helicopters, Inc. production facility, by a workforce of approximately 300 employees, including 40% U.S. veterans. These added capabilities will enable the NCNG to better serve in counter drug and emergency response efforts in federal, state, and local missions.
“The addition of the UH-72B greatly adds to what our NCNG aviation units can do for citizens in natural disasters,” says Col. Benny Collins, State Aviation Officer for NCNG. “With more power and the 4-axis autopilot, it greatly enhances our ability to conduct helicopter hoist rescues.”
Detachment 1, Bravo Company, 2-151st Aviation Regiment, call sign “One Eyed Goose,” is the unit that will be receiving the new models. Leadership had positive insights on why they were entrusted with the new helicopters.
“It is not a surprise to me that ‘One Eyed Goose’ was selected to receive two of only 18 UH-72B in the Army. Since 2008, they have maintained an outstanding performance record in North Carolina Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team (NC HART), Counter Drug Program, flying hour execution, maintenance, and with a successful Southwest Border deployment. I want to thank Col. Collins and the State Army Aviation Office for efforts in ensuring the D1/2/1-151 Aviation Regiment was at the top of the list for receiving these phenomenal aircraft,” said Col. Michele Harper, Brigade Commander of the 449th Combat Aviation Brigade.