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Boeing, 3 Others Eyeing Contract to Replace Vietnam-era Helicopters

BoeingLogoBoeing Co. and at least three other companies are hoping to to win a contract with the U.S. Army to replace its existing Vietnam-era scout helicopters, according to a Reuters article.

Andrea Shalal-Esa writes the Army plans to replace the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopter by 2025, with a model Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. subsidiary, and Honeywell International built in December 2010.

“We’ve taken the best of everything and tried to package it into an aircraft as quickly as possible and get it out there … to the force at considerable savings to the U.S. government and the U.S. taxpayer,” Army Colonel Robert Grigsby, project manager for armed scout helicopters, told reporters.

Boeing, Europe’s EADS, Sikorsky Aircraft and a division of United Technologies Corp. hope to build a new scout helicopter, which the Army expects to help improve capabilities with new common sensor, enhanced cockpit displays and weight reduction by 73 kg, as well as save the government $600 million.

The Army plans to configure the Kiowa Warrior system to the new F-model, which will replace approximately 60 percent of the airframes of 368 helicopters.

The lower weight of the F-models would help fuel the helicopters for 30 minutes of flying time to make room for more weapons, according to Colonel John Lynch, capability manager with the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command.

Lynch added that the new sensor would also enable the scout helicopter to detect enemies quickly and effectively.

The current model will undergo a flight demonstration on April 30.

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