U.S. Army officials this week backed a plan to buy new armed scout helicopters instead of extending the life of the Army’s aging fleet of OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopters, sources familiar with the Army’s plans told Reuters on Friday.
Army acquisition chief Heidi Shyu and other officials agreed to start the new acquisition program for the smaller military helicopter at a meeting on Thursday, but senior Army and Pentagon officials must still sign off on the new acquisition program, said the sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly.
Here’s a prime example of the awful state of procurement. Replacing the OH-58D shouldn’t be a terrible technical challenge. While the required increases in capability do call for quite a bit of technology, none of it is really revolutionary. And yet, when the Army tried to build a scout helicopter based on an improved version of the Bell airframe, they failed.
So here we find ourselves looking again. And the leading contender, the AH-6, is an evolved version of the very helicopter the OH-58 was built to replace. Back in the Vietnam war.