The US Navy has received the first of five H-72A training helicopters from EADS North America, to be used at the Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Maryland.

The H-72As incorporate various elements specifically designed for pilot training missions including jettisonable cockpit doors, a cockpit voice and flight data recorder, a main rotor blade folding kit and an air traffic advisory system.

In addition, the H-72A helicopter features a modern glass cockpit, and high-set main and tail rotors that provide unparalleled safety, access and space utilisation.

Derived from Eurocopter’s combat-proven EC145 multirole helicopter, the navy H-72A shares the same airframe as the US Army’s UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopter.

EADS North America will configure all the five ordered H-72A helicopters in the Naval Test Pilot School’s high-visibility white and orange paint scheme.

The US Army is planning to purchase a total of 345 UH-72As by the year 2016 while EADS is proposing the armed Scout 645 variant for the army’s armed aerial scout requirement.