OH-58F moves into Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase

OH-58 Kiowa Warrior

The U.S. 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.

Brig. Gen. William Crosby, program executive officer for Army aviation, gave the program milestone B approval on Dec. 21,officially moving it into the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase. The program is an acquisition category 2 program, so authority to move the program ahead lies with Crosby, who was recently nominated for a second star.

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.

What the Army will do with the Kiowas after 2025 depends on what direction the Army decides to take with development of a new Armed Aerial Scout helicopter and how that overlaps with a broader effort between the services to develop a Joint Multi-Role aircraft.

The Army completes its analysis of alternatives for the Armed Aerial Scout this month, said Lt. Col. Courtney Cote, product manager for Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter. The findings of the study will briefed to Army and Office of the Secretary of Defense staff in January, with a final report released in April, Cote said.

DefenseNews

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