3-Nov-2010 Source: Bell
Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company (NYSE: TXT) announced that the U.S. Army initiated a contract for the OH-58 “A2D” cabin conversion upgrade program for the highly successful OH-58 platform.
“We are pleased and proud that the United States Army has awarded us the first phase of the “A2D” agreement,” said John L. Garrison, president and chief executive officer of Bell Helicopter. “We have enjoyed a long tradition of cooperation and innovation with the U.S. Army and and the “A2D” program is yet another example of this tradition.”
The “A2D” conversion program is an Army initiative to replace war time losses suffered by the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior. This conversion program takes an existing “A” model OH-58 and upgrades them to “D” model.
“The OH-58D Kiowa Warrior is a significant work horse for our combat operations fleet,” said COL Robert Grigsby, Army’s Armed Scout Helicopter project manager. “This conversion will ensure the Kiowa Warrior continues to be a combat multiplier on the Joint and combined battlefield across the full spectrum of military operations.”
The agreement calls for an initial conversion of eight cabins with an option for a second group of ten. After the conversion of the 18 OH-58A aircraft, and establishment of a “hot” production line, Bell Helicopter will be in a position to respond to the Army’s potential requirement to replace wartime losses with “new metal” cabins reducing overall fleet age.
The OH-58D Kiowa Warrior has the highest OPTEMPO (approximately 90 hours per month per aircraft flight utilization rate), highest readiness rates (in excess of 85% Full Mission Capable) in the U.S. Army combat fleet of aircraft, and is the most requested close air support aircraft in theater today. The Kiowa Warrior has surpassed 630,000 total combat flight hours. Bell is also developing an OH-58 Block II fleet representative demonstrator to facilitate prototyping activities to benefit U.S. Army future requirements. The Block II OH-58 provides an attractive, cost efficient alternative to the U.S. Army and U.S. taxpayer.
About Bell Helicopter
Bell Helicopter, a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., is an industry-leading producer of commercial and military, manned and unmanned vertical lift aircraft and the pioneer of the revolutionary tilt rotor aircraft. Globally recognized for world-class customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell’s global workforce serves customers flying Bell aircraft in more than 120 countries.