The Bell OH-58 Kiowa is a family of single-engine, single-rotor, military helicopters used for observation, utility, and direct fire support. Bell Helicopter manufactured the OH-58 for the United States Army based on its Model 206A JetRanger helicopter. The OH-58 has been in continuous use by the U.S. Army since 1969.
The latest 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, the Dominican Republic, Taiwan, and Saudi Arabia. It has also been produced under license in Australia.
As of December 2013, the U.S. Army has 338 Kiowas in its active-duty force and 30 in the Army National Guard. The Army is considering retiring the Kiowa as part of a wider restructuring to cut costs and reduce the various types of helicopters in service. The Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) for the AAS program found that the Kiowa operating alongside RQ-7 Shadow UAVs was the most affordable and capable solution; it also said that the AH-64E Apache Guardian was the most capable “immediate” solution for the scout helicopter role. It is proposed that all OH-58s be divested and all National Guard and Army Reserve Apaches would be transferred to the active Army to serve as scouts.
The Army will place 26 out of 335 OH-58Ds in non-flyable storage during 2014. In anticipation of divesting the Kiowa, the Army is looking to see if other military branches, government agencies, and foreign customers would be interested in buying the aircraft. The Kiowas are considered in a good price range for foreign countries with limited resources. Bell has not yet agreed to support the helicopters if sold overseas. In November 2014 Croatia sent a letter of intent for the acquisition of 16 OH-58Ds. As of 2015, the Army has divested 33 OH-58Ds.
- Crew: 2 pilots
- Length: 42 ft 2 in (12.85 m)
- Main rotor diameter: 35 ft 0 in (10.67 m)
- Height: 12 ft 105⁄8 in (3.93 m)
- Main rotor area: 14.83 ft2 (1.38 m2)
- Empty weight: 3,829 lb (1,737 kg)
- Gross weight: 5,500 lb (2,495 kg)
- Powerplant: 1 × Rolls-Royce T703-AD-700A or 250-C30R3 turboshaft, 650 hp (485 kW) each
- Maximum speed: 149 mph (240 km/h)
- Cruise speed: 127 mph (204 km/h)
- Range: 161 miles (556 km)
- Endurance: 2.0 hours
- Service ceiling: 15,000 ft (4,575 m)
- Each pylon (two total) can carry one of the following:
- 1x M3P (or M296) .50 cal (12.7 mm) machine gun
- 1x LAU-68 rocket launcher w/ seven 2.75″ Hydra 70 rockets
- 2x AGM-114 Hellfire missiles
M3P (or M296) .50 cal (12.7 mm) machine gunLAU-68 rocket launcher w/ seven 2.75″ Hydra 70 rockets AGM-114 Hellfire missiles
Material Source: Wiki
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