Kiowas Perform First Group Live Firing and Rocket Launching
(Source: Croatia Ministry of Defence; issued Nov 15, 2017)
The Croatian air force is working up to operate the surplus US Army AH-58D Kiowa Warrior armed helicopters it received from the US Army, and has begun live firings using machine guns, unguided rockets and Hellfire missiles. (Croatian AF photo)
The Pilots of the Helicopter Squadron of the 93rd Croatian Air Force and Air Defence performed the first tactical live firing and rocket launching from OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters in the Training Range “Eugen Kvaternik“ near Slunj from 10 - 12 November 2017 in day and night time conditions.

It has been the 3rd cycle of firing and rocket launching with the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter for the first group of Croatian pilots on Kiowa helicopters. Following the successful first round of live firing and rocket launching performed under the supervision of the U.S. instructors and autonomous firing in September 2017 respectively, the pilots now conducted their first group firing and launching on Kiowa helicopters.

The weapons used included the 12.7-mm machine gun, the Hydra 70-mm unguided rockets, Hellfire school missiles, and Heckler-Koch G-36CV guns. The firing was conducted by the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters flying in pairs.

The firing and rocket launching was observed by the U.S. instructors from ground positions, who scored hits in formations crew-team and teams respectively, with the emphasis on position of the mission commander, who decided on the manoeuvre type and target destruction method with two helicopters based on the target type and its coordinates received from the ground-based observer.

The crews for each team were composed of four Croatian Air Force pilots flying two OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters; the decisive qualification assessment depended on engaging the targets at night-time.

Along with the accuracy of real-time decision making by the air mission commander, the instructors rated the efficiency, speed, precision and number of target-hitting runs.

The assessment also included the hit scores from the four types of weapons fired. The overall process from approach, target detection and engaging, directing the other helicopter and attack makes a tactical procedure of training of Croatian flying crews for the conduct of special operations.

The third cycle, encompassing all operating phases on OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters, closed the training of the Croatian pilots and will be followed by the test pilot check ride; it also concluded the mission of the U. S. instructors, who will leave the Air Base Zemunik and the Croatian pilots will take over the role of instructors for new Kiowa pilots.

Air technicians of all specialties also concluded successfully their own training and have been certified as autonomous instructors. The three cycles of tactical live firings and rocket launching enabled them to build helicopter attending skills and field operation in combat situations. They now confirmed the acquired capabilities of operating weapon systems and helicopter refuelling with engines running under day and night conditions.

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