Bell Receives Contract to Modify 27 More Aircraft in OH-58D Safety Enhancement Program
Bell Helicopter has announced that it has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Army to modify an additional 27 OH-58D aircraft under the Kiowa Warrior Safety Enhancement Program (SEP).
These 27 aircraft will form Lot 12 of the Kiowa Warrior SEP program. Work on the aircraft will begin in April 2009. Completed aircraft are scheduled to be delivered back to the Army at a rate of three per month beginning in September 2009.
Bell is currently modifying aircraft in Lot 11, and is on track to complete all work on that lot in June, ahead of contract schedule. "So far, we've been able to deliver every aircraft in Lot 11 two months ahead of schedule," said Amy Tedford, Director of Military Fielded Systems at Bell Helicopter. "Our goal is to continue delivering ahead of schedule as we modify the aircraft in Lot 12," she added.
The Kiowa Warriors are being upgraded with an improved engine, along with improved computer control systems that include 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 armed reconnaissance helicopter safe and mission effective until it is retired. Once the aircraft in Lot 12 have been completed, Bell will have modified a total of 253 Kiowa Warriors on its SEP program line.
All work is being done at Bell Helicopter's Plant 1 facility in Fort Worth, Texas. Work on the Lot 12 aircraft is scheduled to be completed in mid-2010.
The US Army fleet of Kiowa helicopters has accumulated more than 1.7 million flight hours and 460,000 combat flight hours. Despite high usage rates, daily combat scenarios and harsh environmental conditions, the OH-58D continues to achieve readiness rates above 80 percent.
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