IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly
Tunisia is set to procure surplus Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior scout and light attack helicopters after the US government approved a sale valued at USD100.8 million.
The sale, which was announced by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on 3 May, covers the helicopters, weapon systems, defensive aids, night-vision goggles (NVGs), communications and navigation systems, as well as training and support.
Specifically, the DCSA lists 24 Kiowa Warrior helicopters via the Excess Defense Articles (EDA) programme; 10 Lockheed Martin AGM-114R Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and six M279A1 launchers; 82 BAE Systems Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) rounds with M152 High Explosive warheads; one Dillon M134D 7.62 mm Gatling gun (plus 2.3 million rounds) per helicopter; one FN Herstal M3P 12.7 mm machine gun (plus 500,000 rounds) per helicopter; and two M260 70 mm rocket launchers per helicopter.
Each helicopter will also be fitted with the AN/AAR-57 Common Missile Warning Systems (CMWS) that includes A965M1 decoy chaff cartridges, and M211 and M212 Advance Infrared Countermeasures Munition flares. In addition, this request includes 50 pairs of AN/AVS-6 NVGs; 25 Embedded GPS/Inertial (EGI) Navigation Systems (INS), as well as radio sets and other communications and navigation equipment.
The overall effort is to be supported by the US Army Non-Standard Rotary Wing Aviation Program Manager’s Office and the Security Assistance Management Directorate. Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of approximately 10 additional US government and 15 contractor representatives to Tunisia for approximately 5 years to support the fielding, maintenance, and personnel training.
“This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve the security of Tunisia which has been, and continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in the North African region,” the DSCA notification said, adding, “The OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters … will improve Tunisia’s capability to conduct border security and combat operations against terrorists, including Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Libya, and Ansar al-Sharia Tunisia (AAS-T).