Comanche’s Wi’ane: No New Armed Scout Helicopter

May 22/19: Hellenic Forces Greece received 70 Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior armed reconnaissance helicopters and one Boeing CH-47D Chinook heavy-lift helo. The Hellenic Army purchased the OH-58Ds through the US Excess Defense Articles program. The shipment consists of 36 fully equipped aircraft, plus 24 that lack certain avionics, navigation, and communication equipment, and will be dedicated to training. The remaining 10 airframes are to be used for spares. Six of the helicopters came ready to fly. The deal for the Kiowa Warriors is valued at $44,2 million.


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YRH-70 test, 2005 (click to view full) The US Army’s Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) program aimed to replace around 375 Bell Textron OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters, after the $14.6 billion RAH-66 Comanche program, was canceled in 2004. Instead, the Army would buy a larger number of less expensive platforms, with reduced capabilities. Bell Helicopter Textron initially won the ARH competition with a militarized version of its highly successful 407 single-engine commercial helicopter, but despite significant private investment after Army funding stopped in March 2007, spiraling costs killed the ARH-70 in October 2008. What hasn’t changed is the battlefield need for on-call, front-line aerial surveillance and fire support. With its existing OH-58D stock wither wearing down, or shot down, the Army needs to do something. But what? The eventual answer: scrap the Kiowa fleet for a combination of attack helicopters and UAVs. AAS: Now What? Timeline & Choices Boeing’s AH-6 ARH (click to view full) Canceling the ARH program didn’t cancel the battlefield need for a machine that did its job. At present, the US Army believes that OH-58F upgrades to the existing OH-58D helicopter fleet would allow them to field the 1st unit in FY 2016, and would cost between […]

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