Bell OH-58D Kiowa (OH-58F Fox)

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.

Iraqi Freedom

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.

Kiowa safety enhancement programme (SEP)

To maintain the safety and effectiveness of the Kiowa fleet until retirement, a safety enhancement programme (SEP) was launched as a part of the Army Scout refreshment programme in 1998. The SEP provided engine upgrades and improved computer control systems for 292 Kiowa helicopters. The programme was concluded in 2011.

In March 2009, the US Army awarded a contract to Bell Helicopter to upgrade an additional 27 OH-58D aircraft under the Kiowa Warrior SEP.

Upgrade work on the 27 aircraft began in April 2009 and deliveries began in the last quarter of 2009 at a rate of three aircraft a month. In March 2010 the US Army awarded a contract to modify the final 30 OH-58D aircraft under the SEP. Work on the final lot of aircraft in the SEP was started in March 2010 and completed in 2011. The upgrade was carried out at Bell Helicopter’s plant 1 facility in Fort Worth, Texas. Source


OH-58F Fox helicopter

OH-58F_850x-1BHT.jpgImage: Star-Telegram

In October 2010, the US Army provided the “Fox” designation to the upgraded version of OH-58D Kiowa Warriors. The new version is known is OH-58F or Fox and will have an upgraded cockpit and sensor. The upgraded fleet is expected to be deployed in the fourth quarter of 2015. Source

The OH-58F is the next generation Kiowa Warrior designed specifically for the Army’s next generation Scout mission. Building on the proven strengths of its predecessor while adding the latest in advanced technology, the OH-58F answers the call for tenacity, stealth and lethality. The OH-58F features enhanced sensors, new cockpit control hardware and software, three color multi-function displays, a dual-redundant digital engine controller and the latest aircraft survivable equipment. Level II Manned-Unmanned Operations (MUM-O) technology is also incorporated to provide increased situational awareness and improved battlefield command and control.

Key Features and Benefits

  • Nose Mounted Sensor
  • New Control and Display Subsystem 5 (CDS5)
  • Improved MCPU
  • Integrated Common Missile Warning System (CMWS)
  • Dual Channel FADEC
  • Integrated Level II MUM-O (Manned-UnManned Operations)


  • M3P .50 Cal. Machine Gun
  • 2.75” Rocket Pods (7 Shot)
  • Laser-guided Hellfire Missiles (optional)

Digital Cockpit

  • Single pilot operable
  • 2 5×7 Color displays
  • 1 6×8 Color display
  • Dual, independent map channels
  • Control and Display Subsystem version 5 (CDS5)
  • SWB 4 and Beyond
  • Improved MCPU
  • Emergency Standby Attitude Indicator (ESIS)


  • 250 C30R/3 Engine (FADEC) dual channel FADEC
  • Bell 406 Transmission
  • CBM – Condition Based Maintenance

Navigation Guidance

  • World-Wide Navigation


  • AN/ARC-201 VHF FM (2)
  • Digital Communications (IDM 304)
  • Digital ICS
  • Improved Frequency Modulation (IFM)
  • APX-123 (mode 5)
  • Blue Force Tracker (BFT)
  • VMF Certified


  • Advanced FLIR, I2, Color TV
  • Std & Eyesafe LRF/D
  • Laser Pointer
  • Laser Spot Tracker
  • High Skids & Side Beam solution
  • Federated Level II UAS Teaming – on any display


  • Meet or exceed R&M requirements
  • Current and Predicted readiness rate (>80%)
  • Supportable in current Army system
  • Integrated Condition Based Maintenance (CBM)

Armament and Lethality

  • M260-7 tube 2.75 FFAR Launcher (up to 2)
  • 0.50 cal (M3P)
  • MIL-STD-1760 Weapons Bus
  • Digital HELLFIRE Launcher
  • JAGM Integration
  • Modernized Rocket Launcher

Aircraft Survivability Equipment

  • Integrated Common Missile Warning System (CMWS)
  • Integrated APR-39A(v)4 Pulse/Doppler Radar Warning Receiver
  • Integrated AN/AVR 2B Laser Warning Receiver


01apr39 AN/APR-39A (V)2 – Image:

Goodrich AN/AVR-2B(V) Laser Warning System (LWS)



  • LW/Repairable Armored crew station (Seat back, side, bottom, combustor, fuel control)
  • 30 minute run dry gearboxes
  • Redundant cockpit flight controls
  • Ballistically tolerant blades and fuel cell
  • Hidden exhaust, small presented area, and low IR signature

Essential Specifications

Cruise Speed with Weapons 95 kts 176 kph
Range 140 nm 260 km
Seating 2 crew seats in cockpit  
Maximum Gross Weight 5,500 lbs 2,495 kg
Powerplant One (1) Rolls-Royce 250-C30R3
  650 shp 485 kW


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.


OH-58D cockpit


The Kiowa was the first US Army helicopter to have an all-glass cockpit. The cockpit is supplied by Sperry Flight Systems and is equipped with a multiple target tracking / moving target indicator, an ANVIS (aviation night-vision system) display symbology system and helmet-mounted display.

The primary multifunction displays provide situation information, communications control and the mast-mounted sight video. A video recorder stores television and thermal imagery from the mission and allows playback in the cockpit. Source



The countermeasures suite includes an AN/ALQ-144 infrared jammer, radar warning receivers against pulsed and continuous wave radars and a laser warning detector. Source

Self-defence: AN/APR-39(V)1 or -39A(V)1 RWR. Phase 1 adds AN/ALQ-144 IR jammer, second RWR (AN/APR-44(V)3) and AN/AVR-2 laser detection system.  Source

AN/APR-39(V)1 or -39A(V)1 RWR


The APR-39 provides continuous 360-degree coverage to automatically detect and identify threat types, bearing and lethality before alerting a cockpit crew to each threat with a graphical symbol on the cockpit multifunction display or video display. This cost-effective system features state-of-the-art technology in a small, lightweight configuration that protects a wide variety of fixed-, rotary- and tilt-wing aircraft from today’s most modern threats.

“For the past two decades Northrop Grumman’s AN/APR-39 has been the primary radar warning receiver and electronic warfare management system for the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force rotary wing aircraft,” said Mark Kula, vice president of Radio Frequency Combat and Information Systems at Northrop Grumman’s Land and Self Protection Systems Division. “The AN/APR-39 is specially designed to maximize survivability by improving aircrew situational awareness.”  

To date over 6,000 APR-39 systems have been installed on both domestic and international AH-1W/Z, UH-1N/Y, MV-22B, KC-130T, UH-60, OH-58D, CH-53, CH-46, AH-64A/D and CH-47 aircraft. Source

AN/ALQ-144 infrared jammer


The AN/ALQ-144 IR Countermeasures Set is an always-on infrared jammer, providing protection against infrared missiles over a wide environmental range. The system is extremely flexible, as it offers multiple configurations to complement small-to medium- signature helicopters. It may operate independently or cohesively with a missile warning system and flares.


  • Mission versatility
  • Instantaneous and complete protection
  • Active-multi-threat jamming capability



AN/AVR-2 laser detection system


The AN/AVR-2A Laser Detecting Set was developed by Raytheon to warn military helicopter crews of threats from laser-aided weapons. It has 4 sensor units and a central processing unit that detect, identify, characterize and displays laser-aided weapons. AVR-2A has a coverage of 360-degree circumference and +45/-45 degree elevation about the aircraft. Once threats detected, the system displays each threat in priority order of lethality. The AN/AVR-2A is in production for US military helicopters.

Azimuth Coverage: 360 deg

Coverage in Elevation: 90 deg


Fire control and observation


The distinctive mast-mounted sight (MMS) from Boeing, situated above the rotor blades, enables the Kiowa Warrior to operate by day and night and to engage the enemy at the maximum range of the weapon systems and with the minimum exposure of the helicopter.

The MMS contains a suite of sensors which includes: a high-resolution television camera for long-range target detection; a thermal imaging sensor for navigation, target acquisition and designation; a laser rangefinder / designator for target location and guidance of the Hellfire missiles and designation for Copperhead artillery rounds; and a boresight assembly which provides in-flight sensor alignment. The laser rangefinder / designator is also employed for handoff to an AH-1 Cobra helicopter for TOW missile engagements.


The MMS is principally used for collecting imagery and target acquisition data of the battlefield during the day or night, under extreme adverse conditions.

DRS Technologies is currently responsible for the sensor suite and, in March 2004, was awarded an $8.2m contract to upgrade the thermal imaging system on the MMS. The thermal imaging system upgrade (TISU) provides enhanced target detection and range. Deliveries began in August 2005 and were completed in early 2006.



Television Sensor Low Light Silicon Vidicon

Spectral Range 0.65 – 0.9 µm

Line Format 875

Field of View Narrow 2.0°; Wide 8.0°

Thermal Imaging Sensor 640 x 480 element InSb detector

Spectral Range 3.8 – 4.8 µm

Line Format 875

Field of View Narrow 1.6° x 2.0°; Wide 4.9° x 3.7°

Stabilization Better than 20 µ Rad

Field of Regard ±190° Azimuth, ±30° Elevation

Interface Architecture MIL STD 1553

Track Capability Auto – Tracker (Centroid, Scene, Offset)

Laser Rangefinder Designator 1.06 µm NdYAG

Turret Dimensions 25.5 inch diameter, 47 inch height


The contract is part of a five-year $514m master indefinite delivery / indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract awarded to DRS in December 2003.

In February 2006, the US Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) awarded another TISU contract worth $33m. Product deliveries began in February 2006 and were completed in December 2008.


A new five-year contract (January 2009-December 2013) worth $913m was awarded to DRS in February 2009 to support the maintenance, repair and service of the MMS on the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior. This is a follow on of the previous $514m contract.

Under the contract, DRS was awarded a $110m contract to supply spare components, repairs and programme services for the MMS in April 2009. The contract includes delivery of new spare parts from June 2009 to March 2013 with repair and maintenance services scheduled from June 2009 to January 2012. Source

Kiowa Warrior helicopter sale to Tunisia approved: Here


First ex-US Army OH-58Ds delivered to Croatia: Here

Croatia receives final OH-58D Kiowa helicopters: Here



  • Austrian Armed Forces
 Dominican Republic
 Saudi Arabia
 Taiwan (Republic of China)
 United States



Data from Jane’s, U.S. Army Aircraft Since 1947

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2 pilots
  • Length: 42 ft 2 in (12.85 m)
  • Main rotor diameter: 35 ft 0 in (10.67 m)
  • Height: 12 ft 1058 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

One Allison 250-C30R (T703-Ad-700) turboshaft

Rolls-Royce 250-C30R3 turboshaft

One Allison 250-C30R (T703-Ad-700) turboshaft, (C30R/3 with improved diffuser in Kiowa Warrior) with an intermediate power rating of 485kW at S/L, ISA, FADEC. Transmission rating: Kiowa 339kW continuous; Kiowa Warrior 410kW continuous. One self-sealing crash-resistant fuel cell, capacity 424 litres located aft of the cabin area. Refuelling point on starboard side of fuselage. Oil capacity 5.7 litres. Source


  • 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_machine_guncwc_297M3P (or M296) .50 cal (12.7 mm) machine guncwc_309hydra_70_HE_04LAU-68 rocket launcher w/ seven 2.75″ Hydra 70 rocketshellfire_missile_complete_by_scott2753 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles 1164271Learjet 85 New Poster LayoutOH-58D

Material Source: Wiki

Updated Dec 05, 2016

Real Combat Footage


2 thoughts on “Bell OH-58D Kiowa (OH-58F Fox)

  1. Mary J Hegar

    Hi there! I’d like to find out where you got the fifth picture down (the OH-58). I’m writing a book and I’d love to include this picture, but I need permission from the person it’s credited to. Thanks!



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