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Home : News
NEWS | Aug. 15, 2022

Colorado Guard First to Receive Modernized Helicopter Capability

By Colorado Army National Guard

BUCKLEY SPACE FORCE BASE, Colo. — The Colorado National Guard Army Aviation Support Facility received the first two of 18 UH-72B Lakota helicopters purchased by the Department of Defense exclusively for the U.S. Army National Guard Aug. 4.

Nine states will receive two B models based on their previous UH-72A utilization and domestic operations support mission sets and environmental factors.

“We constantly campaign for high-tech capabilities and capitalize on Colorado’s cutting-edge, integrated partners in the civil and defense sectors,” The Adjutant General of Colorado U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Laura Clellan said.

“The Colorado National Guard will utilize the new platform primarily for counter-drug and search and rescue in Colorado,” State Army Aviation Officer U.S. Army Col. William Gentle, Colorado Army National Guard, said. “The increased aircraft capabilities over the UH-72A in support of domestic operations will help lessen the load on our UH-60 fleet.”

UH-72Bs are more powerful than UH-72A. The power margins on the UH-72A made them unusable for hoist rescue operations at higher elevations in Colorado’s mountains.

These new helicopters are now closer in power margins to the state’s UH-60 fleet, and the Colorado Hoist Rescue Team can use the new Lakotas at higher elevations.

The CHRT’s mission is to incorporate civilian alpine rescue personnel and military helicopter capabilities to improve Colorado search and rescue systems, operations, and training. The CHRT has saved 13 lives year-to-date.

“The UH-72B (Airbus H-145 D3) has 25 percent more power than the UH-72A, along with a redesigned 5-bladed rotor system, fenestron (enclosed) tail rotor, and 4-axis autopilot that allows for hands-off hovering,” Instructor Pilot and Colorado Hoist Rescue Team Program Manager U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Clayton Horney said.

UH-72Bs cost roughly half as much to operate as UH-60s, benefitting the Army and the state.

“The UH-72B is not a warfighting aircraft,” Gentle said. “This means that, traditionally, if our UH-60s were deployed in a federal capacity, we would be unable to support as many domestic operations missions locally. Pairing their lower cost of operation and higher power margins means we can save flying hours for our UH-60s.”