Back Bell Model 406 / OH-58D "Kiowa Warrior"

Kiowa Warrior

The latest Bell OH-58D is the result of a 1981 proposal by the US Army for a scout helicopter capable of working alongside the AH-64 Apache. This would include working in the forward battle area, being capable of designating targets by laser for the Apache's Hellfire missiles, close combat aerial reconnaissance and intelligence gathering plus artillery spotting. The OH-58D resulted from the Army Helicopter Improvement Program (AHIP). The result for Bell was the first flight in October 1983 of their OH-58D. The new OH-58 was fitted with the new four-blade composite rotors developed by Bell and a mast-mounted sight. A more powerful 650shp Allison 250-C30R turboshaft engine was fitted and also cockpit multi-function displays. The mast-mounted sight allows the helicopter to stay out of sight and gives added protection in forward areas. The sight contains 12 x magnification TV camera, auto-focusing infra-red thermal imaging sensor and laser range finder/designator, automatic target tracking and in-flight bore sighting. In the scout role the OH-58D can be equipped with Stinger missiles for air-to-air combat. The OH-58D has a maximum speed of 230kph and a range of 495km.

In May 1984 Bell developed the Model 406CS (Combat Scout). This increased the capability of the OH-58D and provided a quick change weapons package. Designed as a force multiplyer, the 406CS can accept any of the roof-mounted sights in production or under development, with growth provisions for laser target designation, FLIR and video thermal tracker. Bell is also under contract with the US Government for an all-composite airframe program (ACAP) which will lead to expanded use of composite materials for all Bell helicopters, including future scout helicopters. The power-plant fitted to the 406CS is the Allison 250-C30 turboshaft developing 650shp with built-in particle separation system fitted to a 510shp transmission with elastomeric vibration isolation, fail-safe four-point mounting and a thirty minute run dry capability.

P.Allen "The Helicopter", 1996

Bell OH-58D

Bell won US Army Helicopter Improvement Program (AHIP) 21 September 1981; first flight of OH-58D 6 October 1983; deliveries started December 1985; first based in Europe June 1987. First OH-58D(I) retrofit contract awarded January 1992. First 117 conversions at Amarillo, Texas; then Fort Worth; produced as Kiowa Warrior from 202nd aircraft. Production completed in 2000.


OH-58D (I) Kiowa Warrior: Armed version, to which all planned OH-58Ds are being modified; integrated weapons pylons, uprated transmission and engine, lateral CG limits increased, raised gross weight, EMV protection of avionics bays, localised strengthening, RWR, IR jammer, video recorder, SINCGARS radios, laser warning receiver and tilting vertical fin, armament same as Prime Chance, integrated avionics and lightened structure.

Prime Chance: Fifteen special armed OH-58Ds modified from September 1987 under Operation Prime Chance for use against Iranian high-speed boats in Gulf; delivery started after 98 days, in December 1987; firing clearance for Stinger, Hellfire, 0.50 in gun and seven-tube rocket pods completed in seven days. Further conversion for development trials.

MultiPurpose Light Helicopter (MPLH) : Further modification of Kiowa Warrior; features include squatting landing gear, quick-folding rotor blades, horizontal stabiliser and tilting fin to allow helicopter to be transported in cargo aircraft and flown to cover 10 minutes after unloading from C-130. Later additions include cargo hook for up to 907kg (2,000 lb) slung load and fittings for external carriage of six outward-facing troop seats or two stretchers. All Kiowa Warriors have MPLH capability.

Further modifications for Warrior, currently under consideration, include improved SINCGARS (secure speech) radios; improved data modem; improved master processor and mast-mounted sight processor; video cross-link; INS/GPS; digital map display.

OH-58X Light Utility Variant: Contender for anticipated US Army requirement; fourth development OH-58D (69-16322) modified in 1992 with partial stealth features (including chisel nose); concept subsequently discarded.

CUSTOMERS: US Army: initial plan to modify 592 OH-58A to OH-58D reduced to 477; reduced again to 207, but Congressionally mandated re-orders increased total to 398 (excluding five prototypes) by 1996 from new goal of 507. Taiwan ordered 12 OH-58Ds in February 1992, plus 14 options, subsequently converted to firm orders. Deliveries started in July 1993.

COSTS: US$7.46 million (1993) programme unit cost.

DESIGN FEATURES: Four-blade Bell soft in plane rotor with carbon composites yoke, elastomeric bearings and composites blades. Transmission rating: Kiowa 339kW continuous; Kiowa Warrior 410kW continuous. Main rotor 395 rpm; tail rotor 2,381 rpm. McDonnell Douglas/Northrop mast-mounted sight containing TV and IR optics and laser designator/ranger; Honeywell integrated control of mission functions, navigation, communications, systems and maintenance functions based on large electronic primary displays for pilot and observer/gunner; hands-on cyclic and collective controls for all combat functions; airborne target handover system in all OH-58Ds operates air-to-air as well as air-to-ground using digital frequency-hopping; system indicates location and armament state of other helicopters; some OH-58Ds have real-time video downlink capable of relaying of US Army and Air Force aircraft to headquarters 40km away or, via satellite, to remote locations.

FLYING CONTROLS: Fully powered controls, including tail rotor, with four-way trim and trim release; Stability and Control Augmentation System (SCAS) using AHRS gyro signals; automatic bob-up and return to hover mode; Doppler blind hover guidance mode; co-pilot/observer's cyclic stick can be disconnected from controls and locked centrally.

STRUCTURE: Basic OH-58 structure reinforced; armament cross-tube fixed above rear cabin floor; avionics occupy rear cabin area, baggage area and nose compartment.

LANDING GEAR: Light-alloy tubular skids bolted to extruded cross-tubes.

POWER PLANT: One Allison 250-C30R (T703-Ad-700) turboshaft, (C30R/3 with improved diffuser in Kiowa Warrior) with an intermediate power rating of 485kW at S/L, ISA, FADEC. Transmission rating: Kiowa 339kW continuous; Kiowa Warrior 410kW continuous. One self-sealing crash-resistant fuel cell, capacity 424 litres located aft of the cabin area. Refuelling point on starboard side of fuselage. Oil capacity 5.7 litres.

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot and co-pilot/observer seated side by side. Door on each side of fuselage. Accommodation is heated and ventilated.

SYSTEMS: Single hydraulic system with three-axis SCAS, pressure 69 bars, for main and tail rotor controls. Maximum flow rate 11.34 litres/min. Open-type reservoir. Primary electrical power provided by 10 kVA 400Hz three-phase 120/208V AC alternator with 200A 28V DC transformer-rectifier unit for secondary DC power. Back-up power provided by 500VA 400Hz single-phase 115V AC solid-state inverter and 200A 28V DC starter/generator.

AVIONICS: Comms: Five com transceivers, datalink and secure voice equipment. Phase 1 additions, introduced on production line in 1991 in preparation for Kiowa Warrior, include AN/ARC-201 SINCGARS secure voice/data radio and Have Quick II radio.
Flight: Plessey (PESC) AN/ASN-157 Doppler strapdown INS. Honeywell embedded GPS/INS unit installed from mid-point of Lot 12 and all subsequent production and retrofit Kiowa Warriors.
Instrumentation: Equipped for day/night VFR. Multifunction displays for vertical and horizontal situation indication, mast-mounted sight day/night viewing and communications control, with selection via control column handgrip switches.
Mission: Mast-mounted sight houses 12x magnification TV camera, autofocusing IR thermal imaging sensor and laser range-finder/designator, with automatic target tracking and in-flight automatic boresighting; turret may be trained 190° port and 190° starboard in azimuth; ±30° in elevation. Night vision goggles; AHRS; and Airborne Target Handoff Subsystem (ATHS). Phase 1 additions include doubled computer capacity to 88 kbits, added weapons selection/aiming and multitarget acquisition/track displays, video recorder, data transfer system, ANVIS display and symbology system and EMV hardening.
Self-defence: AN/APR-39(V)1 or -39A(V)1 RWR. Phase 1 adds AN/ALQ-144 IR jammer, second RWR (AN/APR-44(V)3) and AN/AVR-2 laser detection system.

EQUIPMENT: NBC mask in Phase 1 and Warrior aircraft.

ARMAMENT: Four Stinger air-to-air or Hellfire air-to-surface missiles, or two seven-round 70mm in rocket pods, or one 12.7mm machine gun, mounted on outriggers on cabin sides; port side only for gun.

Jane's Helicopter Markets and Systems

Bell OH-58D

At the end of the 1970s, the US Army set up the Army Helicopter Improvement Program (AHIP) to provide a near-term scout helicopter (NTSH) as an interim aircraft pending development of a new design (in fact the LHX). After several proposals had been examined, Bell's Model 406 proposal was declared the winning contender in the AHIP competition and, on 21 September, 1981, the US Army announced that the Model 406 had been selected. A $151 million contract called for Bell to design, modify and test five prototype aircraft. The dynamic components were tested in March 1983 on the Model 206LM LongRanger c/n 45003 (N206N). The first of these five prototypes flew on 6 October, 1983, and was used for manual validation and training. The second and fifth prototypes were employed in flight testing at Bell's Flight Research Center in Arlington, while the third prototype was equipped with the mast mounted sight and sent to Yuma for mission equipment package evaluation. The fourth aircraft was used for avionics and electro-magnetic compatibility.

The qualification programme was completed by June 1984 and operational tests were conducted at Yuma and Edwards in February 1985 and completed by March of the same year.

The Model 406 incorporated several refinements: a new power-plant, advanced avionics and systems as well as extended armament capabilities. The powerplant was a 650shp Allison 250-C30R (T703-AD-700) turboshaft driving a four-blade soft-in-plane rotor, in place of the 420shp Allison T63-A-720 turboshaft driving the classic two-blade rotor of the OH-58C. The OH-58D, as it was officially designated, was equipped with a McDonnell Douglas/Northrop mast-mounted sight (MMS) capable of operating in day/night and limited visibility and with a Honeywell Sperry cockpit control and display subsystem. The MMS brings together a lot of sophisticated technology. It is a combination of television camera, thermal imaging sensor, boresight system and laser range finder/ designator. Automatically, the system focuses and tracks the area and points targets. This system provides commanders with a survivable real time combat information, command and control, reconnaissance, security, aerial observation and target acquisition/designation system to operate with attack helicopters, air-cavalry and field artillery units during day, night and reduced visibility. The MMS enhances survivability by allowing the crew to accomplish its mission while hovering behind trees and hilltops. By day, the MMS provides long-range target acquisition with television in a 2deg by 8deg field of view, and at night with thermal imaging in a 3deg by 10deg field of view. It also provides laser designation at stand-off ranges for Hellfire, M172 Copperhead and other Army and Air Force laser guided munitions (LGM).

Armament of the OH-58D includes four FIM-92A Stinger air-to-air missiles, or four Hellfire air-to-surface missiles, or two rocket pods, or two 12.7mm machine-gun pods, mounted on outriggers on the cabin sides. Qualification tests for these armaments were conducted during November and December 1987.

Under the AHIP programme, 578 OH-58Ds were expected to be procured over the 1985-91 period at an estimated cost of $2.000 million. An initial batch of 171 aircraft had been funded during FY88, in five lots (16, 44, 39, 36 and 36 aircraft). A further thirty-six aircraft have been requested in FY89. In 1987, deliveries totalled eighty-seven OH-58Ds among which several were of the armed version. Responding to the Army's desire to field an initial armed helicopter, Bell modified fifteen OH-58Ds to the attack configuration known as Kiowa Warrior or simply Warrior. By July 1987, sixty-four were on the US Army inventory and the first shipment to units stationed in Europe began on 11 June, 1987, when twelve OH-58Ds were loaded on board a single Lockheed C-5A Galaxy.

Deliveries of the armed version began during the spring of 1988 to the 18th Airborne Corps Brigade at Fort Bragg. The Warriors were shipped to the Persian Gulf where they were stationed to protect the vital sea lanes for the world's oil supply. Because of the success of the Persian Gulf operation, the Secretary of the Army ordered that 243 OH-58Ds be reconfigured to the armed Warrior version. Eighty-one of these aircraft will also be equipped as the Multi-purpose Light Helicopter (MPLH), capable of carrying troops externally, litter patients or cargo on a sling. First operational deployment of the US Army OH-58Ds occurred during operation 'Desert Storm' when aircraft were deployed by the Aviation Battalion of the 101st Airborne Division and the 82nd Aviation Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division.

A.J.Pelletier "Bell Aircraft since 1935", 1992

Bell Model 406 / OH-58D "Kiowa Warrior"


- The US Army's 1/17th Cavalry flies a stealth version with a laser-proof windscreen and more pointed nose.

- Saudi Arabia's 15 Bell 406 Combat Scouts have a roof-mounted sight.

- The main rotor turns at 395 rpm and the tail rotor at 2,381 rpm.

- The OH-58D is named after the native American Kiowa tribe. Other US Army helicopters are also named in this way.

- The stealth version of the Kiowa Warrior first flew on 6 August 1990.

- The first production unarmed OH-58D was delivered in March 1986.

Technical data for OH-58D

Engine: 1 x Allison 250-C30R rated at 485kW, main rotor diameter: 10.67m, length with rotors turning: 15.85m, fuselage length: 10.48m, height: 3.93m, take-off weight: 2360kg, empty weight: 1380kg, max speed: 241km/h, cruising speed: 204km/h, hovering ceiling, OGE: 3415m, range: 555km

Bell Model 406 / OH-58D "Kiowa Warrior"

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Peter Ryu, e-mail, 23.04.2022reply

I am looking for B406 TR Hub P /N 406 012 101 109. Urgent requirement.
Please advise supplier source for this urgent requirement.

Niels, e-mail, 17.05.2021reply

In the end, Bell underbid Hughes to win the contract and the Bell 206A was designated as the OH-58A. Following the U.S. Army's naming convention for helicopters, the OH-58A was named Kiowa in honor of the Native American tribe.

Balduin, e-mail, 13.05.2021reply

Bell hoped for the Army to go with their service life extension models instead of the program. The F-model Kiowa is an "obsolescence upgrade," while the Block II is seen as the performance upgrade. This gives the Army flexibility in times of shrinking budgets, as they have the option of upgrading the Kiowa to the F-model and then continuing to the Block II later when there are sufficient funds.

John Martin, e-mail, 02.12.2017reply

Sir, I would like to know how the MMS is secured to the top of the rotor head so that it does not spin with the head. Many thanks.

Propwinder42, e-mail, 02.12.2010reply

HI, I am involved with a company that supports the manufacture of spare parts for the OH-58 for the U.S. Army. Any help that I can get for the acquisition of structural drawings for this aircraft would be very helpful. We work in all types of metal and composites.

mohammed, e-mail, 05.12.2010reply

i am from Saudi Arabia
i need (BHTM-406SACS-MM-1) BELL MODEL 406 CS

Chris Sprecher, e-mail, 04.05.2012reply

I have the worst SCAS issue known to man... P /R and Yaw switches will not stay engaged. Every wire in the 1p3 on the transmission deck was replaced end to end and everything has been changed and checked including all TB and WT hydraulics and cmts and all power related components... We have tried speaking with our bell rep and other SMEs but no one can figure out why all new parts and wiring has not fixed this problem... If anybody has any info please let me know... It just came back from reset with the new CMWS and SATCOM mods as well..... SGT Sprecher, Christopher M.

Chris S. Wu,, e-mail, 30.07.2012reply

I'm looking for twenty sets of AHRS for OH-58D. Will accept used AHRS if it is tested all right. Thank you.

Bill, e-mail, 25.04.2013reply

I am interested in finding an engineer that knows the knows the ends and outs of the Bell 58D and who could discuss how modications can be made to them to fit current requirements.

fayhan, e-mail, 29.04.2010reply

i need any refrence for bell 406 or 58d system because iam new test pilot and i need to read more about my aircraft please ..please help me and thanks

al-anazi ahmad, e-mail, 22.04.2010reply

hi__im ahmad from saudi interested in your topics. well, im an aircraft technician for 406cs helicopter. i work as avionics Tehnician. im asking if i can take course in u.s. for basic electronics because sometimes i must do the diagrams for the wiring malfunction and heard that u can learn that system in u.s. and thanks very much. consider me as new friend of you.bye

Frank, e-mail, 16.09.2009reply

If I remember correctly the 58D was not intially designed or intended to be a replacement for the scout gun pink teams of vietnam as you initially imply by saying the platform was supposed to be designed to work with the POS Apache. The target handover system was never designed and never worked with the Apaches and the 58D could only laze but not target handover for the Apache until fixes were in place. The system did work for Artillery as was its original intended purpose. The 58D was funded by artillery to replace the 58A /C AOs with their DMD systems which is why the initial 58Ds for the first 15 years were assigned to Artillery as either TARPs or TARCs. This outstanding and way ahead of its time platform was requested and paid for by artillery with little or no interference from the Aviation side of the house because they were getting the platform after the artillery folks paid the bill. The TVs, TIS, 1553 data bus, MFDs and Marconi strips were part of this package back in the early 80's and just now the "new" aircraft are starting to get on board with databuses and glass cockpits. Hope this helps.

Bob Burrill, e-mail, 25.06.2009reply

One thing that is never mentioned in any discussion about the 58D is the Master Constroller Processor Unit (MCPU). It was the complete mission computer, display controller, stability augmentation computer, system management computer, etc. There were two of them and they were redundant in what they could do. Each consisted of two computers, again with redundancy. Sperry took designs from existing equipment and miniturized it to the point of fiting everything (CPUs, 1553, memory, analog and digital I /O, graphics engine, video I /O, etc) in 5 PC cards. And it was all delivered on-time (both the prototypes and later the production boxes)! This from a brand new facility with brand new engineers. And the software was also delivered on-time! These were firsts not only for Sperry but also for any vehicular program to the United States military. And they were in budget!

I am very proud of my entire team - they were amazing. Without their dedication and effort this entire program could have gone away like so many others. But not only did it stay it has been used as a model for how to do avionics programs right.

David Hernandez, e-mail, 25.11.2008reply

Would like to know the actual weight of Cabin Structure only.

Richard Davis, e-mail, 15.08.2007reply

If you have any information regarding parts and pieces maps or any diagrams for the 58d could you please send me a reference.
v /r
CW2 Richard Davis

Eddie Wilson, e-mail, 03.06.2007reply

Saudi Arabia military has 14 406CS. Some require repair work on their SCAS Computers P /N 8514592-901. Honeywell, Bell Textron,and Allied have all reported a No Bid on the repair. I am requesting a facility to your knownledge that would have the capability to repair this unit.

MS ZOPE, e-mail, 26.11.2021 Eddie Wilson

we need 4ea SCAS Computers P /N 8514592-901
NEW condition to buy for RSLF


Eddie Wilson, 23.12.2021 MS ZOPE



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