The upgraded OH-58F armed reconnaissance helicopter will remain in service until 2036

The OH-58F is an upgrade program of the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior armed reconnaissance helicopter. During the last decade or so the US Army was looking for a replacement for the OH-58D. At some point it became increasingly harder to upgrade worn-out airframes of this helicopter due to their age. Newly-built airframes were required. The first attempt was to replace the OH-58D it with the RAH-66 Comanche. However its development programme was cancelled in 2004. Later the Bell ARH-70 Arapaho was selected, but cancelled in 2008 due to cost overruns and delays.

The future of the third Armed Aerial Scout programme is uncertain due to limited funding. So it was decided to upgrade the OH-58D helicopters to the OH-58F standard to keep them operational. The first OH-58F helicopter was upgraded in 2012. It made its ceremonial first flight in 2013. It was planned that the first operational squadron will be fully equipped in 2016. It was planned that a total of 368 helicopters will be upgraded to the OH-58F standard. The upgraded Kiowa Warriors are planned to remain in service until 2036.

This helicopter can perform various missions, such as reconnaissance, scouting, observation, designating target coordinated for field artillery. If required, the OH-58F can independently support ground forces with its firepower. It can operate at day, night, or in adverse weather conditions with poor visibility.

The OH-58F represents the first major upgrade of the OH-58D in 20 years. Upgraded helicopter features cockpit and sensor upgrades. It has got digital flight controls and cockpit displays. Mast-mounted sensors of the OH-58D were relocated. The OH-58F is fitted with new and more capable FLIR sensor beneath the nose, as well as improved optics. It is capable of long-range target acquisition. It has a range of at least 10 km. Reconnaissance sensors are controlled by the co-pilot, while the main pilot flying the helicopter.

The OH-58F has two hardpionts for various ωεɑρσռs. It can carry pods with 12.7 mm machine guns, pods with Hydra 70 or FAR air-to-ground unoperated rockets, AGM-114 Hellfire anti-tank guided missiles. A combination of various ωεɑρσռs can be fitted depending on mission requirements.

Upgraded helicopter is slightly lighter than its predecessor. The OH-58F reconnaissance helicopter has ballistic floor armor and armored crew seats. Rotor blades and fuel cells are ballistically tolerant. Other survivability features include hidden exhaust with reduced infra-red signature. This helicopter also has active and passive countermeasures. It is fitted with incoming missile warning system. The OH-58F is powered by a Rolls-Royce 250-C30R3 turbine, developing 650 shp. It is the same engine as used on the OH-58D. The helicopter has a four-bladed main rotor. This reconnaissance helicopter is fast and maneuverable.


Comment Disabled for this post!