ARLINGTON, Va., May 2 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army is scouting for a possible replacement for its OH-58D Kiowa Warriors and has issued a "request for information" on candidate aircraft.
The request to helicopter manufacturers included a call for proposals to demonstrate state-of-the-art rotary aircraft and subsystems, possibly this summer or fall.
"The Kiowa Warrior, in its current form, is still the basic airframe of an OH-58A/C that we flew in Vietnam," said Ellis Golson, director of the Capability Development and Integration Directorate at the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence. "We have continued to modify it and address it.
"But the airframe itself and the environments we fly in now and the ones we look to in the future are going to require greater performance."
The Army said there are more than 300 Kiowa Warriors performing armed aerial scout roles today. Their capability shortfalls include speed, range and endurance; the performance margin to operate in high and hot environments; and limited weapons payload.
To meet the need for an improved armed aerial scout helicopter, the Army said it is eyeing the possibilities of upgrading the current Kiowa Warrior, creating a new developmental aircraft from the ground up, or pursuing a commercial off-the-shelf replacement.
Participation in the demonstrations are voluntary and those companies that choose not to do so will still be able to compete for a new aircraft acquisition contact if the Army decides to buy one.