Bell OH-58 Kiowa is an American military multi-purpose helicopter developed by Bell Helicopter Aircraft Corporation in 1966.
The project of the American multi-purpose military helicopter began to be developed by Bell Helicopter specialists for a special order of the US Armed Forces. This was due to the need for entry into the armed forces of the country of high-quality multi-purpose aircraft capable of providing fire cover and being used as full-fledged combat units capable of combating enemy units, including manpower, lightly armored and armored vehicles. The development of an exclusive attack helicopter did not interest the representatives of the US military command, because, in a similar situation, the aircraft could not be used to transport small groups of people and evacuate them.
The first work on the creation of a multipurpose military aircraft began by American aircraft manufacturers in 1961, and in fact, the full process of developing a helicopter took 5 years, which led to some increase in the cost of the aircraft, however, due to the fact that the aircraft was developed exclusively for military purposes, it practically did not affect its popularity.
In 1966, the Bell OH-58 Kiowa helicopter made its first test flight, which turned out to be very impressive, however, a number of design features of the aircraft required additional improvements, in connection with which, the production of this aircraft began only in 1969.
Onboard, the Bell OH-58 Kiowa helicopter can transport six people, including two pilots, or one pilot and gunner, as well as four military personnel, or an equal volume of additional cargo. Due to the fact that the aircraft had a multi-purpose purpose, the helicopter received great support, in connection with which its release was conducted until 1989.
The armament of the Bell OH-58 Kiowa helicopter includes one machine gun with a block of 6 rotating trunks, and can additionally be equipped with two sets of unguided missiles to defeat enemy armored vehicles or to provide fire cover from the air. If necessary, two heavy heavy machine guns can also be installed here, however, in this case, the crew of the aircraft should be increased to four people.
The helicopter propulsion system of the Bell OH-58 Kiowa model consists of one Allison T63-A-700 gas turbine aircraft engine, which is capable of developing a thrust of 317 hp, which is very small for a military helicopter. Nevertheless, the aircraft engine has high reliability and provides the aircraft with the ability to accelerate to a speed of 220 km \ h. (depending on the modification of the helicopter). A helicopter can carry out flights at distances up to 480 kilometers, which is very acceptable for this type of aircraft.
- Bell OH-58A Kiowa – the basic four-seater production version of the aircraft;
- Bell OH-58B Kiowa – export version of the helicopter, developed by order of the Austrian Air Force;
- Bell OH-58C Kiowa – an upgraded version with a more efficient power plant and a number of technical improvements;
- Bell OH-58D Kiowa – An improved version of the helicopter, with more powerful weapons and a number of technical additions and improvements;
- Bell OH-58F Kiowa – A modernized version of the helicopter, introduced in 2012;
- Bell OH-58F Block II – one of the varieties of the helicopter version Bell OH-58F Kiowa;
- Bell OH-58X Kiowa – a special experimental version of the helicopter.
- Crew: 2 people;
- Capacity: 4 people (depending on version);
- The length of the helicopter: 9.8 m. (Depending on version);
- The height of the helicopter: 2,92 m. (Depending on version);
- The diameter of the rotor: 10.78 m. (Depending on version);
- The mass of the empty helicopter: 718 kg. (Depending on version);
- Maximum take-off weight: 1360 kg. (Depending on version);
- Cruising speed: 190 km \ h. (Depending on version);
- Maximum flight speed: 220 km \ h. (Depending on version);
- Maximum flight range: 480 km. (Depending on version);
- Maximum flight height: 5800 m.;
- Powerplant: Allison T63-A-700 (Depending on version);
- Power: 317 HP (Depending on version).