20 October 2008

Army Cancels Helicopter Program (ARH)

The Army's Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter program known as the ARH was designed to replace the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, in light of the earlier cancellation of the Comanche helicopter program. The Kiowa has seen heavy and successful us in Iraq, sometimes showing up the heavier AH-64 Apache gunship helicopter. An upgrade program for electronics in the existing Kiowa is ongoing.

The original plan was to by 500 of them from Bell-Textron at $8.56 million each, with delivery to start in 2009. As usual, the program was behind schedule and over budget, with the cost rising to $14.48 million per copy and the initial delivery date now set for 2013.

The Army has not abandoned the idea of a manned reconnaissance helicopter, despite the increasing importance of drone aircraft (including the Firescout, a drone helicopter in an advanced state of development) and satellites, but appears to have grown so fed up with the ARH program that they'd rather start over. A press release from the Pentagon stated the Defense Department will instead "provide the Army with an opportunity to define a coherent, disciplined Kiowa Warrior helicopter replacement program, and to obtain more rigorous contract terms for its development.”

From here

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