The OH-58 Kiowa, a legendary US helicopter that helps in anti-drug missions

zIn addition to the AH-64 Apache, in fact the US has the legendary Bell OH-58 Kiowa helicopter. While not as well-known as the AH-64 Apache, UH-60 Black Hawk, or CH-47 Chinook, the Kiowa is very experienced. 

Kiowa served the US for almost 50 years before retiring in 2014. In fact, now Kiowa still enjoys operating in countries such as Austria, Canada, Taiwan, and Saudi Arabia. Quoted from 19fortyfive.com, the Kiowa has another dubious difference. In 1989, Congress mandated that the Army National Guard would participate in the ധąɾ on Drugs.

Therefore, in 1992, the National Guard created the Air Reconnaissance and Reconnaissance Detachment (RAID), which has aviation units in 31 states. The aviation units contained 76 OH-58A Kiowa, modified for reconnaissance and interdiction missions against US citizens. The Kiowa flies on more than 1,200 aerial counter-drug missions on US soil. RAID lives on today, with a mission dedicated to counterterrorism, but the esteemed Kiowa has retired.

The Army attempted to retire the Kiowa several times, starting from scratch with the RAH -66 Comanche. Of course, the Comanche was canceled before it entered production, so the Kiowa continued service. A decade later, the Army insisted on retiring the Kiowa in an effort to reduce the types of helicopters in operation (and reduce costs), finally succeeding in 2014.

Quoted from Military.com, the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior performs armed reconnaissance, security, target acquisition and designation, command and control, light attack and defensive aerial combat missions to support combat and contingency operations. The helicopter is single engine with four blades with advanced vision, navigation, communications and ωεɑρσռs and cockpit integration systems.

The mast mounted sight (MMS) houses a thermal imaging system, low light television, laser rangefinder/marker, and an optical drill sight system. This system allows the Kiowa Warrior to operate both day and night and enables target acquisition and engagement at uneven ranges and in adverse weather conditions.

The Kiowa Warrior’s highly accurate navigation system provides precise target locations. The system’s results can also be sent digitally to other aircraft or artillery via its advanced digital communications system. While the deployment of the Kiowa Warrior is complete, the Army is currently installing a series of safety and performance modifications to keep the aircraft safe and mission effective until retirement.

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