Local & Regional
8:22 am
Sat April 5, 2014

Oklahoma National Guard Unveils New Helicopters

An UH-72-A
Credit US Army

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma National Guard is planning to unveil four new UH-72A "Lakota" helicopters that are replacing an aging fleet of choppers that have been in service for more than 30 years.

Guard officials plan to unveil the new helicopters Sunday at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base in Oklahoma City.

Designed as a light utility helicopter, the new Lakotas cost about $5.5 million each and are expected to increase the National Guard's ability to conduct emergency operations. They will be used primarily for disaster response, firefighting command and medical evacuations.

The new choppers can carry two crewmen and up to nine passengers.

Guard officials say air flight and maintenance crews have trained extensively for the new aircraft and are currently operating them in Oklahoma.