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military helicopters • gunships • army attack helicopters
military helicopters

OH-58D Kiowa Warrior

The Kiowa is a dual-role helicopter operated by the US Army. This versatile airframe acts as both a scout helicopter and full-blown attack helicopter. In most cases the Kiowa will be deployed in concert with other assets such as the AH64A/D Apache gunship. The Kiowa also co-ordinates with artillery batteries and attack aircraft.

kiowa warrior
OH-58d Kiowa Warrior in action in the skies of Iraq.

The OH-58D Kiowa was originally an unarmed Scout helicopter. It was first armed in 1987 during the tanker crisis in the Persian Gulf in order to protect shipping against Iranian gunboats.The Kiowa has seen action in Desert Storm, Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

It's lack of heavy armor does make the Kiowa more vulnerable to small-arms fire than dedicated gunships and several Kiowas have been shot down during combat operations in Iraq.

The Kiowa has a mast-mounted sight (MMS)that provides a 360-degree field of view. A laser rangefinder/designator is fitted to the MMS. A favored tactic is for the Kiowa to hover behind cover, using the MMS to scan for targets which it can either pop-up to engage itself or laser-mark for other gunships. The MMS also includes a video camera and infra-red sensors.

The Kiowa has large Multi-Function Displays (MFDs) within its cockpit.

  • wire cutters fitted above and below the cockpit to protect against the threat of high-tension wires - a real problem for helicopters flying at ultra-low levels.
  • folding skids, rotors, mast and stabiliser which allow the Kiowa to be transported in cargo planes.
  • drop-down caving ladders by each skid for rapid pickup of personnel.

The Kiowa has a AN/ALQ-144 Countermeasures Turret mounted behind the main rotors. The AN/ALQ-144 is an active IR Jammer designed to defeat IR-homing missiles.

The location of the jammer right behind the engine exhaust means that it is susceptible to failure unless cleaned regularly. The Kiowa also carries 2 kinds of radar detector and a laser detector that will give a warning when the helicopter is painted by an enemy radar system or laser beam.

The kiowa's exhaust system vents directly into the rotor downwash which diffuses the heat generated, thus reducing the Kiowa's visibility to heat-seeking missiles.

A range of air-to-ground weapons can be carried by the Kiowa including 7-tube 12.75" hydra rocket pods and .50 caliber machine guns.

OH-58D Kiowa Specifications

xm296 machine gun pod
XM296 .50 cal machine gun pod. The XM296 is a belt-fed, air-cooled weapon which fires at 500-750 rounds per minute.
Crew 2 - Pilot, Co-pilot/gunner
Engines 1 650hp Allison T703-AD-700 Turboshaft
Dimensions L - 12.85m
W (rotorspan) - 10.87m
H - 3.93m
Weights 1,381 kg (empty)
2,041 kg (max loudout)
Max Speed 237 kph (no armaments)
Range 463 km
Armament Various combinations of :
M260 FFAR 2.75" 7 tube rocket pods.
XM296 .50 caliber gun pods
M3P .50-caliber machine gun
AGM-114C Hellfire anti-tank missiles
Stinger air-to-air missiles
Avionics MMS featuring Video / FLIR / Laser
AN/ALQ-144 Countermeasures
Radar Warning Receiver x2
Laser Warning Detector

kiowa warrior m3p machine gun
In 2009 U.S. Army Kiowa Warriors started having M3P .50 caliber machine guns mounted instead of the XM296 pods previously used. The M3P is lighter, more reliable and fires at a faster rate than the M2 carried in the XM296 pod.
DOD photo by: Sgt. Stephanie van Geete

kiowa warrior
A US Army (USA) OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter, in flight during a reconnaissance patrol mission, near Balad Air Base (AB), Iraq, during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. This Kiowa is armed with 1x7-tube HYDRA rocket pod and 1x XM296 .50 cal machine gun pod.
OH-58D KIOWA resources :
kiowakiowas in bosniakiowa - hellfireskiowa - iraqkiowa in iraq with rocket pods
(click thumbnails for fullsize images)
photo gallery : oh-58d kiowa

kiowas in iraq


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