19-Apr-2011 Source: Bell
Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company (NYSE: TXT) announces the first flight of its OH-58 Block II demonstrator at its Xworx research and development facility in Fort Worth, Texas on April 14, 2011.
â€œThe flight was flawless and completed according to plan,â€ said Cathy Ferrie, Director of Bell Helicopterâ€™s Xworx facility. â€œThe Block II is a significant leap forward in performance for the Kiowa Warrior platform and will absolutely make this a 21st Century airframe for the 21st Century soldier.â€
Bell Helicopter is developing this OH-58 Block II fleet representative demonstrator to facilitate prototyping activities in anticipation of a U.S. Army future requirement of 6K/95 performance.Â The Block II OH-58 provides an attractive, cost efficient alternative for the U.S. Army and U.S. taxpayer, and will demonstrate Bell helicopterâ€™s ability to meet or exceed all performance requirements for the Armyâ€™s Armed Aerial Scout. Bell Helicopter is developing this aircraft with its own resources and at no cost to the government.
The Block II demonstrator takes an OH-58 Kiowa Warrior and makes it a fast fielding, low risk and lowest cost solution to achieve 6,000ft and 95 degree performance. The â€œhigh-hotâ€ performance can be attained with propulsion and drive training upgrades to the existing platform. This upgrade program builds upon the F model Cockpit and Sensor Upgrade Program (CASUP) improvements by adding a new engine, transmission and rotor system.
â€œBy continuing to upgrade the OH-58F into a Block II program, the Army will save money that they can invest in future technologies or future platforms,â€ said Stephen Eppinette, Army business development manager. â€œIt will also give the Army and the tax payer a return for the money invested in the F model program.â€
Along with the performance upgrades, the Block II will adopt fully integrated condition-based maintenance (CBM) technologies so that the aircraft will have higher performance, increased safety, and greater operational readiness while reducing life-cycle costs.
With more than 750,000 fleet combat hours, the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior is a combat- proven aircraft that is safe, rugged and reliable, maintaining the highest readiness rate of any Army helicopter operating in Afghanistan while simultaneously having the highest operational tempo.