The UH-72A is a twin-engined light duty helicopter. It is equipped with a single 4-bladed main rotor and a single 2-bladed tail rotor mounted on the left-hand side of the tail assembly. The helicopters tail unit is mounted high with a pair of non-moving horizontal stabilizers mounted below the tail rotor. In addition, there are twin vertical stabilizers mounted on the outside edges of the horizontal stabilizers, thus effectively boxing in the tail rotor, enabling the safe loading and unloading of the cargo area. Basic crew consists of a pilot and co-pilot.
The UH-72A is capable of transporting eight passengers or two litters in the medical evacuation capacity. The aircraft body has access doors mounted on each side of the fuselage, as well as large clamshell doors on the rear of the airframe to allow access to the cargo area for the loading of bulk cargo or litters. The UH-72A is equipped with a rescue winch, which is mounted on the left-hand side above the crew compartment door. The UH-72A utilizes a twin skid landing gear system.
In June of 2006 the United States Army selected the Eurocopter EC-145 as its choice for a pre-existing off the shelf FAA certified helicopter to fulfill the role of light duty utility helicopter, designating its version as the UH-72A Lakota. The UH-72A will be manufactured in the US at the American Eurocopter facility in Columbus, Miss. The first UH-72A was delivered to the US Army in December of 2006, and the initial units will be assigned to the National Training Center at Ft. Irwin, Calif., to relieve the UH-60 Blackhawks currently assigned there for aero-medical evacuation missions. The UH-72A is an unarmed helicopter optimized for routine air operations, to include civil support, air transport, medical evacuation, and search and rescue, in a permissive, non-hostile environment. Initial production is slated at 322 aircraft.