Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company (NYSE: TXT), is participating in the voluntary flight demonstration (VFD) the week of Oct. 22 with the Bell Helicopter Block II OH-58 Kiowa Warrior. The U.S. Army is conducting these VFD's as part of their effort to replace to the current OH-58D scout helicopter. Scout helicopters fulfill a vital role for the Army including battlefield reconnaissance and armed response.
"The OH-58 Kiowa Warrior has earned an unmatched reputation in the scout community and we firmly believe that our Block II will continue this tradition while it delivers greater performance, new technology and even better reliability," said Mitch Snyder, Bell Helicopter's executive vice president of Military Programs.
Building on its stellar performance, proven reliability, demand history and existing upgrade programs, the new Bell Helicopter Block II Kiowa Warrior will continue to meet the evolving needs of the Army for the next generation of scout helicopters. The Block II combines a new and more powerful engine with an enhanced tail rotor to deliver a fast fielding aircraft to achieve 6,000 feet and 95 degree performance. This proven Block upgrade will cost much less than a commercial off the shelf (COTS) design. The Block II upgrade will also blend seamlessly into the Army's existing supply chains, training programs and personnel system.
The Kiowa Warrior Block II also delivers a multitude of other advancements that include a state of the art Nose Mounted Sensor and enhanced situational awareness from three full color Multi-Function Displays. Looking to the future beyond the Block II, Bell Helicopter is developing a Block III which will have the Future Advance Rotor Drive System transmission, new rotor, and is an IFR rated aircraft.
"As proven with all the other Army Combat Fleet Helicopters in operation today, we believe by employing the Block modernization concept we can deliver a helicopter that meets today's requirements, while providing a clear roadmap for future upgrades as well," continued Snyder. During a Block upgrade program, using a rugged, reliable airframe like the Kiowa, the aircraft is continuously infused with the latest advances in technology, without the added expense of creating a new program.
Since its introduction into the Army fleet in 1992, the OH-58D has been in continuous use, logged more than 800,000 combat flight hours, and consistently achieves the highest availability and readiness rates for any Army helicopter. It remains the most requested Close Air Support (CAS) platform by ground commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan.
With a rugged body, and the ability to be continuously upgraded the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior has served the U.S. Army well. The OH-58 will provide the Army with a low risk, low cost, fast fielding solution that meets the Army's scout helicopter requirements now and into the foreseeable future.
Source: Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT)
Date: Oct 23, 2012