Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New F-Model for OH-58 Kiowa Warrior

The US Army has decided to move ahead with its F-model upgrade program for the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior, while completing analysis on a future scout helicopter.

According to DefenseNews report, Brig. Gen. William Crosby, program executive officer for Army aviation, gave the program milestone B approval, officially moving it into the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase.The OH-58F will feature a cockpit and sensor upgrade, including digital flight controls and cockpit displays, nose-mounted sensors and aircraft survivability equipment.

The Army’s Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) program was supposed to replace the OH-58 Kiowa Warriors, which have seen heavy use in Iraq and Afghanistan. When ARH was canceled in October 2008, the Army began redirecting the program’s money toward the effort to keep the Kiowa Warrior flying until 2025.

The Bell OH-58 Kiowa is a family of single-engine, single-rotor, military helicopter used for observation, utility, and direct fire support. Bell helicopters manufactured the OH-58 for the US Army based on the 206 A Jet Ranger helicopter. The OH-58 has been in continuous use by the US Army since 1969.

The current model, the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, is primarily operated in an armed reconnaissance role in support of ground troops. The OH-58 has been exported to Austria, Canada, Dominican Republic, Taiwan, and Saudi Arabia. It has also been produced under license in Australia.

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