Bell completes first flight of Block II Kiowa

Bell completes first flight of Block II Kiowa

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.

“The flight was flawless and completed according to plan,” said Cathy Ferrie, Director of Bell Helicopter’s Xworx facility. “The 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.”

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.  The Block II OH-58 provides an attractive, cost efficient alternative for the U.S. Army and U.S. taxpayer, and will demonstrate Bell helicopter’s ability to meet or exceed all performance requirements for the Army’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 “high-hot” 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.

“By 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,” said Stephen Eppinette, Army business development manager. “It will also give the Army and the tax payer a return for the money invested in the F model program.”

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.

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