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Airbus Awarded US NAVAIR Contract to Develop US Marine Corps Aerial Logistics Connector

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Airbus Awarded US NAVAIR Contract to Develop US Marine Corps Aerial Logistics Connector

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Airbus UH-72 Lakota Unmanned Logistics Connector (ULC). (Photo Airbus U.S. Space & Defense, Inc.)
Airbus UH-72 Lakota Unmanned Logistics Connector

Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) awarded Airbus U.S. Space & Defense a Phase I Other Transactional Authority Agreement, through Naval Aviation Systems Consortium, in support of the United States Marine Corps Aerial Logistics Connector. The award is part of a Middle Tier of Acquisition (MTA) Rapid Prototyping Program which aims to provide the USMC with prototypes to demonstrate the aircrafts capabilities to the warfighter through a series of operationally experiments. The Airbus U.S. UH-72 Unmanned Logistics Connector, a variant of the proven Lakota platform, is intended to provide logistical support during expeditionary operations within contested environments. The unmanned autonomous helicopter is the low risk, affordable solution for the contested logistics problem.

“Our unmanned UH-72 logistics connector leverages nearly two decades of U.S. military capability and offers Marines a versatile, affordable and enduring solution to address logistics missions around the globe. We look forward to supporting the Marine Corps with this latest modernization of the Lakota platform,” said Rob Geckle, Chairman and CEO of Airbus U.S. Space & Defense.

Airbus UH-72 Lakota Unmanned Logistics Connector
Airbus UH-72 Lakota Unmanned Logistics Connector (ULC). (Photo Airbus U.S. Space & Defense, Inc.)

Performance is a cornerstone of the UH-72 Unmanned Logistics Connector’s design. Capable of carrying critical cargo—including Joint Modular Intermodal Containers (JMICs) and Naval Strike Missile (NSM) containers—the UH-72 ULC excels in transporting key supplies over long distances at high speeds. With a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 8,378 pounds and a cruise speed of 135 knots, it ensures rapid and efficient delivery of essential materials. The ULC’s operational altitude reaches up to 20,000 feet, and its range extends beyond 350 nautical miles, making it an ideal asset for sustained operations in diverse and challenging environments. These specifications underscore its ability to meet the rigorous demands of expeditionary missions, where reliability and speed are paramount.

The UH-72 Unmanned Logistics Connector is designed with future growth in mind. Featuring a Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) and a robust digital backbone, it offers significant flexibility for mission expansion. Its design accommodates easy integration of new technologies and systems, ensuring that it can evolve with changing mission requirements. The open autonomy system allows for incorporating “best of breed” solutions, ensuring that the ULC remains at the cutting edge of unmanned logistics technology. One of the standout advantages of the UH-72 ULC is its immediate availability. With an active U.S. production line, the aircraft can be rapidly deployed to meet current and emerging logistical needs. This readiness factor is crucial for maintaining operational tempo and ensuring that Marines have the supplies they need when and where they need them.

Airbus UH-72 Lakota Unmanned Logistics Connector (ULC). (Photo Airbus U.S. Space & Defense, Inc.)
Airbus UH-72 Lakota Unmanned Logistics Connector (ULC). (Photo Airbus U.S. Space & Defense, Inc.)

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