FORT WORTH, Texas --- In addition to beginning work in March on the final lot of aircraft in the OH-58D Safety Enhancement Program (SEP), Bell Helicopter is also supporting the Army’s Kiowa Warrior program with crash damage repairs and a C-to-D cabin conversion build line.
In March the Army awarded Bell a contract to modify the final 30 OH-58D aircraft scheduled to enter the Kiowa Warrior SEP program. Work on the first aircraft in Lot 13 has already begun at Bell Helicopter’s facility in Fort Worth, and the final aircraft are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2011.
As they move through Bell’s SEP Line, the Kiowa Warriors are being upgraded with an improved engine, improved computer control system and related new wiring harnesses. The improvements are part of a series of safety and performance modifications the Army has implemented to keep the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter safe and mission effective throughout its lifespan. When Lot 13 is complete, a total of 371 Kiowa Warriors will have been modified to the SEP configuration.
Bell is also supporting the Corpus Christi Army Depot (CCAD) with crash damage repairs on OH-58D aircraft. Three cabins are currently at Bell for repairs. As work on each cabin is completed, it will be shipped to an AMCOM Aviation Field Maintenance Directorate site for installation of dynamic components.
In April 2009 the Army exercised a contract option to have Bell convert one OH-58A cabin into a new OH-58D cabin and complete the non-recurring engineering effort required to establish a cabin build line. Modification work on the first A cabin has begun. The completed D cabin is scheduled for delivery to CCAD next year. A cabin build line will enable the Army to acquire new OH-58D cabins from Bell to replace Kiowa Warrior aircraft whose cabins have been damaged beyond repair.
The US Army fleet of Kiowa helicopters has accumulated more than 600,000 combat flight hours and nearly 2 million total flight hours. Despite unusually high usage rates and daily combat missions in 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.