Kiowas are developed to specialize in the armed scout role, though they cannot engage enemies like dedicated gunships except if they can attack without getting spotted. Optional equipment kits for transport and utility missions on the same hardpoints are used to mount equipment, reported Army Technology.
One of these specialized equipment is a cargo hook rated to carry a limit of 2000-lbs. When emergency evacuation is needed for wounded troopers, a proviso for two stretchers and 320 kg. of supplies can be used within an operating range of 185 km. or more. When needed, the speedy armed scout is used to bring six-armed troopers to critical mission areas for drop-off or covert insertion.
Design of the Kiowa Warrior
The OH-58D Kiowa Warrior has a single-engine and double-bladed propellers based on conventional designs. No armor is used to protect it. It relies on speed and mobility, map-of-the-earth flying when engaged on a scout mission. Anti-aircraft weapons can take it down with a direct hit.
The Kiowa is very air-transportable and two of them can be loaded in a Hercules C-130 transport plane, noted Fas Org. To do this, the main rotor blades and the horizontal tail fin are folded, while the mast-mounted sight, the IFF antenna, and the lower wire cutter are disconnected from the main chassis. Its landing gear can be folded to accommodate its bulk in the cargo bay to lessen the height.
Its replacement in the attack scout role
Since the army cannot do without a scout helicopter, there are plans to build a next-generation armed reconnaissance helicopter (ARH) for the specialized role. An updated military version of the ARH worth $211 million was given to Bell in 2005 to deliver about 368 helicopters between 2008 and 2013.
To give the four Army National Guard attack helicopter battalions new units of the armed scouts, the order was increased to 512 from 368 units in all. The US Army realized in July 2008 that the ARH program had exceeded the Nunn-McCurdy Act's cost-growth limits. As a consequence, the ARH program was closed down in October 2008.
Weapons on the Kiowa Warrior
Though not as heavily armored as the Apache, the scout helicopter has weapons on carrying pylons, which are universal and quick change. A loadout of two Hellfire homing missiles, seven Hydra 70 rockets, two- air-to-air Stinger missiles, and a .50-calibre forward machine gun as its anti-personnel weapon.
The Lockheed Martin DAGR guided rockets were fired successfully on the platform in March 2010. It gives the helicopter a chance to attack and destroy other attack choppers and armored vehicles.
Additional protection is provided passively by AN/ALQ-144 infrared jammer, radar warning receivers against pulsed and continuous wave radars, and a laser warning detector to warn if missiles or infantry rockets target the scout, cited Military.
The powerplant of the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior
Installed is a Model 250 485kW turbine engine from Rolls-Royce as its powerplant. Its transmission is rated at a transient power level of 475kW. Adaptations made for combat operations on the engine and transmission system upgrade work in hot temperatures and challenging climates.
Related article: OH-58D Kiowa Warrior Made for Day and Night Operations