- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 17, 2015

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., says the U.S. Army has approved a $220.5 million contract for the production of UH-72A Lakota helicopters in Columbus.

The contract to Airbus Defense and Space, Inc. is for the procurement of 41 Lakota helicopters equipped with Airborne Radio Communications 231 radios. Congress approved $401.6 million overall for additional UH-72A Lakota helicopters in the fiscal year 2015 omnibus appropriations bill, which was signed into law on December 16.

Work on the new helicopter order will be performed at the Airbus facility in Columbus. The estimated completion date is July 2017.

UH-72A Lakota helicopters are considered one of the most cost-effective programs in the military. In addition to being used for military missions, these helicopters are used to support disaster response, border protection and pilot training.

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