Built by European firm EADS, the UH-72A is a militarized version of the EC145, a helicopter long popular with law enforcement agencies, including the FBI. The EC145 was introduced nine years ago and has been very popular with its users. The UH-72A purchase is a side effect of the cancellation of the Comanche scout helicopter in 2004 (mainly because of constantly increasing costs). Comanche was perceived as too expensive and complex. The UH-72A mainly replaces the few remaining UH-1 (“Huey”) helicopters, which have been retired because of old age.
The UH-72A has about the same capacity as the UH-1, despite its smaller size. The 3.6 ton UH-72A has a top speed of 260 kilometers an hour and a max range of 660 kilometers. Average endurance per sortie is about two hours. The helicopter has a crew of two and can carry up to eight passengers or about three-quarters of a ton of cargo or weapons. The UH-72A has been popular with its users and has had a readiness (for flying) rate of 90 percent.