FORT WORTH, Texas --- Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, announced today that it has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Army to modify the final 30 OH-58D aircraft under the Kiowa Warrior Safety Enhancement Program (SEP).
These 30 aircraft will form Lot 13 of the Kiowa Warrior SEP program. Work on the aircraft will begin in March 2010. Completed aircraft are scheduled to be delivered back to the Army at a rate of two per month beginning in July 2010.
Bell is currently modifying aircraft in Lot 12, and is on track to complete all work on that lot of 27 aircraft in May 2010. “We’ve been able to deliver every aircraft in Lot 12 on or ahead of the contract schedule,” said Amy Tedford, Director of Military Fielded Systems at Bell Helicopter. “Every Bell employee on the SEP line understands the great value that the OH-58D provides to America’s warfighters, and we all take great pride in supporting the Kiowa Warrior and its critical role in protecting our troops in the combat zone.”
The Kiowa Warriors are being upgraded with an improved engine, improved computer control system and related new wiring harnesses. These improvements are part of a series of safety and performance modifications the Army implemented to keep the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter safe and mission effective throughout its lifespan. Once the aircraft in Lot 13 have been modified, the OH-58D Safety Enhancement Program will be complete and a total of 371 Kiowa Warriors will have been upgraded under the program.
Work on Lot 13 aircraft will be accomplished at Bell Helicopter’s Plant 1 facility in Fort Worth, Texas, and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2011.
The US Army fleet of Kiowa helicopters has accumulated more than 550,000 combat flight hours and nearly 2 million total flight hours. Despite such high usage rates, daily combat missions and a harsh operating environment, the OH-58D continues to maintain the highest OPTEMPO and highest readiness rates of any Army aircraft in theater.
Bell Helicopter, a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., is an industry-leading producer of commercial and military, manned and unmanned vertical lift aircraft and the pioneer of the revolutionary tiltrotor aircraft. Globally recognized for world-class customer service, innovation and superior quality, Bell's global workforce serves customers flying Bell aircraft in more than 120 countries.
Bell Helicopter to Modify Final 30 Aircraft in OH-58D Safety Enhancement Program