Home » Air » EADS Bid to Replace the Kiowa Warrior

EADS Bid to Replace the Kiowa Warrior

by John Reed on April 2, 2012

Well, here you have it, the Armed Aerial Scout 72X+. It’s EADS North America’s bid for the Army’s effort to replace or upgrade its ancient OH-58 Kiowa Warrior armed scout choppers.

Yup, the EADS bird looks like a beefed up version of the Army’s UH-72 Lakota Light Utility Helicopter — the EADS-made chopper that has replaced the service’s venerable UH-1 Hueys in non-combat roles — because that’s pretty much what it is.

Here’s what the company has to say about the Lakota on steroids:

The AAS-72X or AAS-72X+ could be built and delivered at a cost competitive with the upgrades planned for the Vietnam-era OH-58 Kiowa Warrior and fielded to Army units as early as 2016.

This variant is based on the commercial EC-145T2 aircraft which incorporates the more powerful Turbomeca Arriel 2E engines with dual channel FADEC, a Fenestron tail rotor for improved anti-torque, an upgraded transmission, the Helionix glass cockpit and avionics suite, and a 4-axis autopilot system.

These elements of the AAS-72X+ will offer the Army greater power, range, endurance and payload capacity when operating in 6,000 foot altitude and 95 degree environments, commonly known as “6K/95 high/hot” conditions — the most demanding environment for rotary-wing operations.

The AAS-72X+’s performance will exceed the Army’s previously published 6K/95 endurance requirement of 2 hours and 12 minutes plus a 20 minute fuel reserve, while carrying a 2,800 pound useful payload for mission equipment and crew.

EADS North America has delivered more than 210 UH-72A Lakotas to the Army and five the U.S. Navy, all on schedule and on budget.

Here’s EADS rival Sikorsky’s plan the scout chopper contest.

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{ 71 comments… read them below or add one }

blight_ April 2, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Sikorsky's seems more founded on new helicopter design which might be good or might be bad.

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Sgt_Buffy April 3, 2012 at 7:45 am

I just like the Fenestron rotor in the back. It's good to finally replace the last of the old helicopters. We replaced the Huey and Cobra and Mini-Huey (with the Kiowa). Glad to see us moving forwards with a reliable company and program.

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Mastro April 3, 2012 at 10:31 am

Yeah- it looks a bit aggressive- good from a "gee-whiz" aspect- not so much from a budgetary one.

The EADS bid might make sense-

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William C. April 4, 2012 at 4:22 am

Except the Sikorsky X2 designs provide a major leap in performance, regardless of what we are operating in the interim we'd be idiots to miss out on that.

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asdf April 4, 2012 at 12:01 pm

true, but it's a high risk option for now.
when the helicopters now on the competition wear out, it will be a logical choice.

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asdf April 4, 2012 at 12:01 pm

so does osprey, why not it?

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brianckramer April 2, 2012 at 6:05 pm

They should get it just for this:

"EADS North America has delivered more than 210 UH-72A Lakotas to the Army and five the U.S. Navy, all on schedule and on budget."

When was the last time an American aircraft company did that?

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BuzzKill April 2, 2012 at 6:27 pm

…"replaced the service’s venerable UH-1 Hueys in non-combat roles."

The last part should help you figure out your question.

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Steven April 6, 2012 at 9:36 am

Non-sense response.

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Tom April 3, 2012 at 10:18 am

As I recall, recent Chinook deliveries are on schedule and budget, and I would expect many mature aircraft programs are similarly on schedule and budget.

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Praetorian April 3, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Boeing — with the F-18 Super Hornets and Growlers, on time and on budget
Boeing — with the CH-47
Boeing — with the F-15SG & F-15K for Singapore & S. Korea

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sdog April 2, 2012 at 6:23 pm

i'm wondering how the upgrades mentioned in the breif would make this lakota on roids acceptable for overseas use when the standard is not considered to be good enough?

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brianckramer April 2, 2012 at 6:35 pm

It's a by all accounts solid helo currently used for non-combat roles, with some modifications make it suitable for light-attack/armed recon roles.

like turning the huey into the venom.

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Noha307 April 2, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Still gonna haft'a go with the Sikorsky S-97. Its a purpose built machine as opposed to a conversion. In addition, it has a HUGE speed advantage (UH-72: 167 mph, OH-6: 175 mph, S-97: 250 mph), coaxial rotors (which, at least in my book, have many advantages over a conventional layout – not least of which is no more BHD incidents) and is bad @$$ to boot!

The UH-72 ain't a bad helicopter, it's just the wrong tool for the job.

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majrod April 2, 2012 at 8:18 pm

I like the S97 concept also but what does it cost?

On the other hand what about an upgraded AH6?

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Thomas L. Nielsen April 3, 2012 at 3:10 am

And the first Sikorsky S-97 Raider enters service when, and at what unit price?

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg

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moose April 3, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Enters service? no contract has been awarded yet. Sikorsky's building its prototypes now, the first will be flying at the end of next year.

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Thomas L. Nielsen April 4, 2012 at 3:40 am

My point exactly – The S-97 doesn't exist, and at present no one can say if it ever will.

That's why saying that the (current) Armed Aerial Scout requirement should be fulfilled with the S-97 is a no-go.

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg

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Looney Tunes April 2, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Blue Thunder… the only choice…

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Hotel55 April 3, 2012 at 10:26 am

Ummm, Airwolf was better! ; )

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stephen russell April 2, 2012 at 8:31 pm

why not adapt Kiowa with NOTAR or ducted rotor & improve engines?
or expand for fuel & for range.
Save $$$$ for other projects.
Then have EADS compete.
Ducted tail rotor module.

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TMB April 2, 2012 at 9:34 pm

The Kiowa hit it's design limitations a long time ago.

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Andrew April 2, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Would like to know what armament in can carry in the light attack mode, two .50 gunpods doesn't seem like a whole lot.

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TMB April 2, 2012 at 9:37 pm

The Kiowa can carry combinations of 2.75in rockets, a .50 cal, miniguns, and hellfires. Like you said – light attack.

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Andrew April 3, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Was talking about the Lakota.

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TMB April 3, 2012 at 6:53 pm

I know. Whatever replaces the Kiowa will have to carry the same stuff.

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majrod April 2, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Nice helo but let's not focus on one solution?

Sikorsky S97 fits the bill.

Nor should we forget the AH6i. Already in use, one of the most survivable airframes ever, US made and already compatible with the AH64 Blk III http://www.boeing.com/news/frontiers/archive/2010

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Thomas L. Nielsen April 4, 2012 at 3:45 am

"Sikorsky S97 fits the bill."

Except that the S-97 doesn't actually exist. There's a concept demonstrator flying, but that's it.

The S-97 does have the potential for serious awesomeness, but let's get it built and tested first….

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
Luxembourg

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William C. April 3, 2012 at 2:08 am

At this point I think we ought to just upgrade the OH-58 pending the S-97 or some variant of Sikorsky's X2 family.

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shon April 3, 2012 at 2:17 am

Save the taxpayer money by buying a UH-1Y???
According to wiki…
UH-1Y = $21.6 million
UH-60 = $21.3 million
UH-72 = $5.9 million
Sure the Armed Aerial Scout 72X+ is going to cost more than the UH-72 but it is still going to be less than a UH-1Y. During a time of falling budgets across the DOD the Army is wise for going with the proven and cheap solution.

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Sgt_Buffy April 3, 2012 at 7:57 am

Finally some fact checking.
I came up with about the same numbers UH1, UH60 about 20 million. UH-72: 6-8 Million.

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Mastro April 3, 2012 at 10:34 am

The UH-1 – any version- was never intended as a scout. That's why they had the Kiowa.

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Beltway Bandit April 3, 2012 at 11:10 am

…..hahahah….

that's funny…

The Army should have just continued use of the AH-1 for reconnaissance and scouting then…. That's what the Marines do. The Kiowa was a political buy and every one knows it.

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LoSul April 3, 2012 at 2:30 pm

who the heck suggested replacement with a UH-1Y? Replace a light single with a medium twin?

Pass whatever youre smoking

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majrod April 4, 2012 at 1:32 am

What's an AH6i going for?

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asdf April 4, 2012 at 12:08 pm

why not osprey then, if the lakota is not us-made?

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jamesb April 3, 2012 at 1:41 pm

I find this amusing

WTF would ANYBODY want to suggest the S-97 CONCEPT HELO????

The UH-72 is a tested design…
Has been delivered on time on budget….

I DON'T get it?

You guys want another Marine One caper here?

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blight_ April 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm

The Marine One caper used a different EADS helicopter that was also OTS, and even had its own VIP versions.

What kills the project is that the VIP versions of anything are usually custom jobs where the cost of development doesn't amortize very well.

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majrod April 3, 2012 at 6:33 pm

The same reason the AH6/MD500 isn't even mentioned. Some folks just like "new" with little consideration for price and capability.

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jamesb April 3, 2012 at 1:42 pm

By the way….
Anybody know what's going on with a NEW AFOne and Marine One?
Will the VP and S/S get 787's?

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Tribulationtime April 3, 2012 at 3:13 pm

OH-58 Kiowa are in "F" variant now, with upgrades and rebufishing and worn up. National Guard is flying UH-72 with good reports, and get added a kit to expand uses. S-97 is a newborn with odds to expend decades to mature. OH-58 was tried to evolved in a modern one ARH-70 and didn´t work. I would put my money in a proven model.

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William C. April 3, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Where did the E variant go?

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majrod April 3, 2012 at 6:28 pm

AH6/MD500 also fits the bill and is proven.

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sarao_j April 3, 2012 at 5:52 pm

The Fenestron tail rotor on the photo above looks totally different than the tail in this photo (http://www.armedscout.com/images/gallery/Armedscout6.jpg) yet has has the same aircraft registration (N940AE). mock up?

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Noha307 April 3, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Apparently, the one with the Fenestron is the AAS-72X+ (Talk about a mouthful!) and the one without [it] is the plain ol' AAS-72X. See here: http://www.armedscout.com/about/gallery.asp

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sarao_j April 3, 2012 at 7:45 pm

both look great. I was just wondering why they "Photoshopped" the original AAS-72X instead of giving a real photo for the press release.

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SJE April 4, 2012 at 5:03 pm

The Sikorsky has a lot of advantages over the retooled EADS helo. But the question should not be Sikorsky v EADs, but do we continue flying old helos when we can get a decent upgrade from Vietnam era technology, now, at a predictable price, with EADS. Its not much different than flying F18As and still waiting for F35s, why not buy some F18Es now?

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Dumb Grunt April 3, 2012 at 1:12 am

Exactly. If they went with the UH-1Y they would have a greater payload and endurance.
Still have parts commonality with the Corps and save the taxpayer a few bucks with no downside. Even the Hueys they retired can be upgraded to the Yankee form.

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Tom April 3, 2012 at 10:24 am

The AH-6 does not even have a single announced customer yet. Certainly it's based on a proven airframe and technology, but that does not make the combination of those things proven, just theoretically a less risky development.

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majrod April 3, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Buffy, how much extra stuff are you carrying in an OH58D? Where does it sit, the pilot's lap?

The Little Bird has room for up to six troops (w/benches) and small is a good thing with a scout helo.

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Sgt_Buffy April 3, 2012 at 10:35 am

No, not the AH-6, but the airframe, the Boeing MD500, has several contractors for military scout helicopters, especially in the Middle East region. Namely Afghanistan, Argentina, Chile (retired), Finland, Croatia (retired), El Salvadore, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Jordan, North Korea, South Korea, Mexico, Panama, Phillipines, Spain, taiwan, and the United States.

soooo………. Not the "AH-6" That's just an American designation, all these countries run a similar platform, the MD 500 Defender, which is a slightly older version of the same.

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Sgt_Buffy April 3, 2012 at 10:41 am

UH-1 ain't a scout, and the UH-72 costs about half that of a UH-1.
I like your name.

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Tom April 3, 2012 at 11:03 am

Yup, it's an MD-500 with a new powertrain and new avionics and mission systems … so basically it's the body of an MD-500 with everything else different. Comparing the AH-6 to early MD-500's is like comparing an AH-1Z to the AH-1's flown in the 1960's, while they're superficially similar, that's all they are, superficially similar.

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Lance April 3, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Overall I was talking about national Guard HU-1s vs Lakota not a Armed scout version. Overall buying new Jet Ranger airframes and installing latest sensors and electronics will be fa better than using Euro-crap from France.

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Dumb Grunt April 4, 2012 at 12:21 am

The UH-1Y is as fast as the UH-72 It has greater endurance and payload capacity; that is internal and external. it can be configured to do what the UH-72 can do and more. In fact the Huey was doing the scouting work before the UH-72 was some one's wet dream. This is not including the simple fact that spare parts commonality with the Marines will save the taxpayer quite a bit of money. To remanufacture the older UH-1's to the Y specifications should save even more. Besides the reliability of the UH-1 series well known; how reliable is the UH-72 in the real world?

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majrod April 3, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Your ignorance is showing. The Lakota was specifically purchased to replace OH58A's and some hueys in the guard. The need was for a 322 LIGHT utility helos to conduct Homeland Security, administrative, logistic, Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) NOT the heavier utility mission of the UH1N which BTW was evaluated (Bell 412). Buying a more capable/expensive helo defeats the purpose of the requirement.

Still going for a new negative vote record!

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tiger April 3, 2012 at 8:58 pm

For Lance, that is not hard….

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Lance April 4, 2012 at 12:11 am

Majrod your a unprofessional ignorant troll if you love your Lakota fine Your ignorant more than Iam since the UH-72 was a National Guard UH-1 replacement and to let UH-60 in Guard service loose for regular army units in the sand box. OH-58 was NOT mentioned. The helo is expensive slow and is not American made and for Search and rescue here at home fine but would be a BIG target for flying in combat.

I know you and a few other who cheat your IP address so you can put more negative adds on me. But I dont care your full of dung and your never stop me from posting butthole.

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TMB April 3, 2012 at 9:39 pm

No it can't. The Fire Scout doesn't have the speed, responsiveness, situational awareness, or weapons of the Kiowa. The delay in the radio link doesn't permit safe close fire support with guns or unguided rockets.

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tiger April 3, 2012 at 10:24 pm

FireScouts speed is about the same, Is smaller a target, can stay longer, Is being armed & does not need to expose 2 people to do the same mission. The primary mission is spotting, not shooting.

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TMB April 3, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Spotting is what you do to call in artillery. Kiowas are used for armed reconnaissance, security, target acquisition and designation, command and control, light attack and defensive air combat missions.

"Being armed" isn't the same as having the same weapons and capabilities. UAVs don't use guns or rockets. Laser-guided 2.75in rockets are being tested for fixed wing manned aircraft, but are years off from being mounted on UAVs. The Army had an interest in the Fire Scout for a few years then backed out in favor of fixed-wing UAVs for BCT ISR, not armed reconnaissance. They never even considered replacing the Kiowa with a UAV.

Kiowas carry 3 times the cargo/weapons of a Fire Scout (in theory since a Fire Scout isn't armed yet), has a longer flying radius (and can land in more austere locations), and have been used to to land mid-battle and pick up casualties and confer with ground units.

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majrod April 4, 2012 at 1:20 am

The UH1Y is almost four times more expensive than the Lokota ($5.9mil) and Blackhawks are cheaper than UH1Ys ($21.6 vs $21.3). There's also more spare parts in the Army system.

Not a fan of the Lokota but the UH1Y is overkill.

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majrod April 4, 2012 at 1:24 am

I can't be responsible for what you don't know. That's all on you buddy. BTW, I'm not a Lokota fan (read the rest of the thread if you want to educate yourself). Also the Lokota is made in Miss. Again, not responsible for what you don't know.

Oh yeah, it's a plot. People change their IPs just to give you negatives. -15 and counting…

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TMB April 4, 2012 at 1:45 am

Helps that we had this exact same conversation almost a year ago on this website.

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tiger April 4, 2012 at 3:05 am

Perhaps. It seems Army aviation is overlaping the gunship mission.

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TMB April 4, 2012 at 3:06 pm

The Apache fleet was originally meant as its own manuever force (so to speak) to engage large enemy formations en mass. Using them as convoy security or hunting insurgents only developed from this war. The Kiowa's weapons and the way it flies gives it the ability to scout ahead and support the ground force as soon as they see something. They're also small and nimble and present a small target as they fly in the forward areas as well as require a smaller logistical footprint. And there's nothing wrong with having some overlap in air support.

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tiger April 4, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Well rather I thought the idea was the two act as a team? The Scouts flying & looking for the vaunted Armor hordes to come through the Fulda gap. Then calling in the Gunship & A-10 to kill them? If they wanted something to shoot stuff with, why ditch the OV-1's? They could carry more than this armed traffic coppter. I understand your above points. To me this just seems this a manned mission we could replace. I can build a small & nimble UAV.

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majrod April 5, 2012 at 3:46 am

The Army was never allowed to have OV-1s.

The reasons have already been stated why UAVs are not optimal in the armed scout role. Manned scouts can also work independently as light attack helos vs. having to be paired to an Apache.

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majrod April 5, 2012 at 3:49 am

Sorry I meant OV10. OV1s were more a military intelligence asset mounting SLAR and the Air Force forbade them to be armed. Not a very good attack aircraft without weapons huh?

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