By PEO-Aviation for STAND-TO!May 17, 2011
The OH-58F Kiowa Warrior
What is it'
The OH-58F is the planned upgrade of the OH-58D and will provide leap-ahead technology and increased capability through the implementation of a Cockpit and Sensor Upgrade Program (CASUP) which includes: advanced nose mounted sensor, improved cockpit control hardware and software for enhanced situational awareness, three full color multi-function displays, dual-redundant digital engine controller for enhanced engine safety, digital inter-cockpit communications, digital HELLFIRE future upgrades, Aircraft Survivability Equipment (ASE) upgrades, and a redesigned aircraft wiring harness. The FOX model will also integrate Level 2 Manned Unmanned Teaming, Common Missile Warning System (CMWS), Health and Usage Monitoring (HUMS), and enhanced weapons functionality via 1760 digital interface.
What has the Army done'
The mission of the KW CASUP program is simple: develop a robust, fast aircraft modification program to address obsolescence, reduce weight and deliver advanced capability to the Aviation Warfighter. A key feature of the next evolution of the Kiowa replaces the OH-58D mast-mounted surveillance and targeting system, which was designed to look over trees and down-range for Russian tanks, with a nose-mounted, downward-looking system better suited to deserts and mountains.
What does the Army have planned for the future'
Seven aircraft will be produced during the CASUP's Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase. The first flight of the OH-58F configuration is currently planned for the 4th quarter of 2012. Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) for OH-58D to OH-58F modification is scheduled to begin immediately after the Milestone C review currently planned for March 2014. The current acquisition strategy is to modify the entire OH-58D fleet. The approved Army Procurement Objective is 368 aircraft. In an era of tight budgets, the Army has made the OH-58F upgrade program one of its highest priorities.
Why is this important to the Army'
With the cancellation of the ARH-70A Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) on Oct. 16, 2008, it became abundantly clear that the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior would have to remain on the front line for the foreseeable future. The venerable KW is a proven work horse for the war fighter and even today remains the go-to asset for theater ground commanders, having flown more than 750,000 hours, surpassing all other Army rotary wing platforms in readiness, and executing an OPTEMPO five times the normal rate. The FOX model Kiowa Warrior is a significant investment into the OH-58D fleet and will ensure the Kiowa Warrior continues to be a combat multiplier on the Joint/combined battlefield across the full spectrum of military operations.
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