A service budget official said at a roundtable with reporters earlier this month that next year marks the last of the Lakota fleet for the active Army. The president's budget request for fiscal 2016, released Feb, 3, included $187 million for 28 more helicopters. The budget request indicates no additional funding for 2017 and beyond.
The president's budget request includes $5.7 million to support an increase in flying hours associated with increased student loads at the Army National Guard aviation training sites and the fielding of the Lakota to replace the Kiowa.
The 41 aircraft are all to be built at the Airbus facility in Columbus, Mississippi. The Army had used the Lakota, a militarized version of the commercial EC145, for non-combat purposes: homeland security, drug interdiction, general support, logistics and medical evacuation.
Joe Gould was the senior Pentagon reporter for Defense News, covering the intersection of national security policy, politics and the defense industry. He had previously served as Congress reporter.