Kiowa Warrior replacement saga continues

My colleague Craig Hoyle received this briefing at a conference in London on Wednesday.

Key takeaways:

  • ARH competition delayed at least 18 months for Army to conduct analysis of alternatives
  • Airlift requirement likely to shift from C-130 to C-17

  • Meanwhile, the Army will spend $1.3 billion to upgrade OH-58D Kiowa Warriors

  • KW upgrades include a lighter nose-mounted site (removing mast-mounted site) and integrating a newer, lighter-weight, 50.cal gun.
  • Some Army national guard battalions flying A-model Apaches will be upgraded to the AH-64D Longbow

Stay tuned for updates next week. I’m traveling to Nashville to attend the annual convention of the Army Aviation Association of America.

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5 Responses to Kiowa Warrior replacement saga continues

  1. Dave 1 May, 2009 at 5:47 pm #

    Personally, I alway thought basing everything on the capacity of the C-130 was kinda stupid. I’m also happy that the Guard will be receiving upgraded Apaches- I never agreed with the decision to move to the ARH.

    Anyways, I can’t help but to think the ARH AOA will lead right back to where we were before… with a decrepit fleet of recon choppers and an urgent need to replace them. I do hope this time around they’ll just buy the Little Bird.

  2. Stephen Trimble 1 May, 2009 at 5:57 pm #

    I’m just reading the writing on the wall here. I’m wondering if the switch to the C-17 opens the door to the Apache. The AOA will consider manned-unmanned. So you increase the number of Apaches with Level 4 control of ERMP, which didn’t exist when the original ARH contract was awarded. I just don’t see the army having the money or the patience in two years to convert an off-the-shelf helicopter into a military machine. Just thinking aloud here really …

  3. Dave 1 May, 2009 at 8:55 pm #

    That’s certainly a possibility… the new Apaches are pretty awesome and will better better still. Though really, by now we should be looking at new chopper rather a continuously upgraded AH-64 variant. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Apache… but it does kinda illustrate how the helicopter has always been a neglected technology.

    Still, I’m not sure if switching completely over to the manned-unmanned concept is the way to go. There are times the a human presence is needed and the Apache isn’t exactly ideal for the armed reconnaissance role.

    However, the AH-6M is already serving with SOAR- it would be a perfect fit. Having spoken to many Army pilots, most wonder why it wasn’t picked in the first place… (I mean I know the reasons, I’m just not sure they’re necessarily valid)

  4. Distiller 3 May, 2009 at 10:16 am #

    What again is nowadays the rational for using helicopters for (armed) scouting? Aaahh … Bronco!

    A scout version of the Apache would get around the problem of introducing yet another type to the fleet. And I doubt a Little Bird can carry a mast mounted sight.

  5. puppethead 4 May, 2009 at 2:35 pm #

    The Little Bird certainly can carry a mast-mounted site – see http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Launchpad/5249/530defender.htm
    Something to do with the fixed rotor mast making an excellent mount.

    Whilst I like its small size and great manoeuvrability for the scout rĂ´le, I’m not sold on single-engined combat helicopters – particularly in Iraq they seem to be just too vulnerable to small arms fire. They also seem to struggle more when hot-and-high.

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