Posted by John McHale
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala., 24 Dec. 2010. The Army's OH-58F Kiowa Warrior, an Army Acquisition II program, passed its Milestone B review Dec. 21, which officially moves the program into the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase that includes an upgrade to the sensors and cockpit avionics. "Today we had a great opportunity to achieve a significant milestone with the OH-58F Cockpit and Sensor Upgrade Program," says Col. Robert Grigsby, project manager for Armed Scout Helicopters. "We were able to meet all of the requirements for a Milestone B decision."The OH-58F will provide new technology and increased capability through the implementation of a Cockpit and Sensor Upgrade Program (CASUP). PM Kiowa Warrior launched the program in accordance with the Defense Department guidance to spend near-term Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter funds to sustain the existing Kiowa Warrior fleet. The F Model Kiowa Warrior capitalizes on non-developmental items and systems fielded on other aviation platforms to rapidly install, modify, or provide the following:advanced Nose Mounted Sensor, improved cockpit control hardware and software for enhanced situational awareness, three full color multi-function displays, dual-redundant digital engine controller for enhanced engine safety, digital inter-cockpit communications, digital HELLFIRE future upgrades, aircraft survivability equipment (ASE) upgrades, and a redesigned aircraft wiring harness. Additionally, the OH-58F model will integrate the following capabilities:Level 2 Manned Unmanned Teaming, Common Missile Warning System (CMWS), Health and Usage Monitoring (HUMS), and enhanced weapons functionality via 1760 digital interface. Brig. Gen. William Crosby, program executive officer for Army Aviation, met with the Kiowa Warrior Product Office personnel led by Lt. Col. Scott Rauer, product manager, and was presented all of the required information to include an approved Capabilities Design Document (CDD), which will enable the program to move forward in the development phase and end up with a Milestone C decision and Low Rate Initial Production. The Kiowa Warriors have an average age of 39 with the highest readiness and operational tempo rates supporting overseas contingency operations and continually exceeds expectations in performance in theater. With the cancellation of the ARH-70A Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) on October 2008, it became clear that the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior would have to remain on the front line for the foreseeable future. "What it really means to the warfighter is that those lessons learned from the global war on terror [Overseas Contingency Operations] will finally be incorporated into the aircraft through a fairly significant investment of dollars," Rauer says. "It provides long-term sustainment and viability for the aircraft to continue its mission because the aircraft has evolved in the battlefield. It will now have a full mission equipment suite that will accomplish all those jobs quite well.""What this does is it will allow us to move this aircraft and program along as a program of record and allows us to get to a point where we can meet its requirements until 2025 as it sits right now," Grigsby says. "[Kiowa Warrior] CASUP really challenges the methods that we use in this business to get the aircraft modified," Rauer says. "With the Army taking the role as lead systems integrator, it challenges the traditional paradigm where the mission equipment manufacturer takes the lead and develops the aircraft from start to finish. In this case the government is coordinating the efforts of four major developers and is doing this as fast as possible at a very low dollar value to be as flexible and responsive and fiscally responsible as we can possibly be."