OH-58 Kiowa Warrior

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A United States Army armed helicopter that can be modified for a number of missions, the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior is a two-seat, single-engine, four-bladed single main rotor light helicopter with a It is designed to operate autonomously at standoff ranges providing armed reconnaissance, command and control, and target acquisition and designation under day/night, hot, and adverse weather conditions. The OH-58 can engage both air and ground targets. Using Multipurpose Light Helicopter (MPLH) kits, it can be reconfigured for limited troop transportation, emergency medical evacuation, external cargo, and rapid deployment relocation.

OH-58 helicopters are normally assigned to air cavalry armed reconnaissance units and attack helicopter battalions. It replaces AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters with a scout role in air cavalry troops and light attack companies, and OH-58A and C Kiowas in air cavalry troops of air assault units. The helicopter can be deployed worldwide using all United States Air Force transports, two Kiowas in an C-130 Hercules converting to and from the shipping configuration in minutes.


The manner in which sensors are mounted on the helicopter is as important as the sensors themselves. A low light television, thermal imaging system, laser rangefinder/laser designator and a boresight optical sight (for calibration) are packaged into a Mast Mounted Sight (MMS) that protrudes above the top of the rotor arc. This lets the helicopter hover behind a hill, a building, or some other form of cover, and, much as a submarine only raises its periscope, only exposes the sensors to discovery.

The sensors can be used purely as a source of information gathering, to control weapons launched by the Kiowa Warrior itself, or by other firing platforms. Sensor information is correlated with multiple onboard navigation sysems, including GPS and inertial, to give target positions. It can record imagery on an onboard video recorder, or transmit it, in near-real-time, to command, control and intelligence personnel.

Using its the Airborne Target Handover System (ATHS) to which the mast-mounted sensors are connected, the Kiowa Warrior is capable of rapidly providing adjustment of conventional artillery or handing targets to other airborne weapons platforms equipped with digital receiving equipment. The AN/APG-78 can provide Longbow terminal guidance for AGM-114 Hellfire missiles fired from Kiowa Warriors, AH-64 Apache heavy attack helicopters, other airborne weapons platforms, or ground based systems. Another way to think of this capability is that it lets a Apache fire missiles at a target the Apache cannot see at all.

It carries the combined AN/ALQ-136 radar detector and jammer.


The Kiowa Warrior has two weapon stations and can be armed with a combination of Air-to-Air Stinger (ATAS), a system for using the FIM-92 Stinger, normally a shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile, against enemy aircraft. For ground targets, it can launch its own AGM-114 Hellfire as well as those fired by other platforms. Under its own control, it has 2.75 inch unguided rockets, a .50 caliber machine gun or a 7.62mm gatling gun M-134 mini-gun.

General information

  • Crew: 2
  • Max Gross Weight: 5,200 lbs (armed)
  • Empty Weight: 3,289 lbs
  • Height: 12 ft, 10.6 in
  • Width: 6 ft, 5.4 in
  • Length: 33 ft, 4 in
  • Rotor Diameter: 35 ft
  • Max Cruise Speed: 128 mph
  • Range: 299 miles (sea level, no weapons, 10% reserve)
  • Ceiling: 19,000 ft
  • Armament: Air-to-air Stinger (ATAS) (2 round launcher); .50 caliber machine gun (500 rounds); HYDRA 70 (2.75 in) unguided rockets (7-shot pod); HELLFIRE missiles (2-round launcher);M-134 7.62 caliber mini-gun