The US Army is investigating options for replacing its Bell OH-58 Kiowa scout helicopters with a partly or wholly unmanned fleet.

The army's plan to replace the OH-58 has been in limbo for six years. In February 2004, the army cancelled the RAH-66 Comanche programme. Four years later, the army also terminated the Bell ARH-70 Arapaho.

Both programmes faced significant delays and cost overruns before they were terminated.

The new OH-58 replacement concept, called the Armed Aerial Scout (AAS), has drawn interest from manned aircraft, including the EADS/Lockheed Martin AS645 and the Boeing AH-6S.

The army's analysis of alternatives is considering a broader range of options. The mission for the AAS concept is to provide reconnaissance and strike capabilities, which are missions increasingly performed by unmanned air systems.

Source: Flight International