August 22, 2012
Credit: Credit: US Army
The Senate Appropriations Committee cut the U.S. Army’s request for the number of OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters by seven helos.
The Army had sought 16 aircraft to replace those lost during the war in Afghanistan and return the fleet to 368, according to the service’s budget documents.
The committee also slashed 43% from the Army’s request to modify the aircraft.
The program was one of many to lose funding in the bill because of production delays. Aircraft production will not take place until 2015, according to the committee’s report on the bill.
The committee also notes that the Army continues to look for future alternatives to the Kiowa and is in the process of conducting a voluntary flight demonstration (VFD) to look at whether it is worth embarking again on the twice-aborted Armed Aerial Scout program or continuing to extend the life of the Kiowas.
Five companies are conducting the demos including AgustaWestland North America, Bell, Boeing, EADS North America and MD Helicopters.
“The committee directs the Department of the Army to complete the VFD and define the way ahead for its Armed Scout requirement to the congressional defense committees prior to obligating fiscal year 2013 replacement aircraft funding,” the report says.