Bell Helicopter

The Bell OH-58 Kiowa is a family of single-engine, single-rotor, military helicopters used for observation, utility, and direct fire support.

Bell OH-58D Kiowa

Design and development

The OH-58D introduced the most distinctive feature of the Kiowa family — the Mast Mounted Sight (MMS), which resembles a beach ball perched above the rotor system. The MMS by Ball Aerospace & Technologies has a gyro-stabilized platform containing a television system (TVS), a thermal imaging system (TIS), and a laser range finder/designator (LRF/D). These new features gave the aircraft the additional mission capability of target acquisition and laser designation in day or night, limited-visibility and adverse weather.


The Mast Mounted Sight system was developed by the McDonnell Douglas Corp. in Huntington Beach, CA. Production took place primarily at facilities in Monrovia, CA. As a result of a merger with Boeing, and a later sale of the business unit, the program is currently owned and managed by DRS Technologies, with engineering support based in Cypress, CA, and production support taking place in Melbourne, FL


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Major General John Norton, commanding general of the Army Aviation Materiel Command (AMCOM),[ received the first OH-58A Kiowa at a ceremony at Bell Helicopter's Fort Worth plant in May 1969. Two months later, on 17 August 1969, the first production OH-58A Kiowa helicopters were arriving in Vietnam,[28] accompanied by a New Equipment Training Team (NETT) from the Army and Bell Helicopters. Although the Kiowa production contract replaced the LOH contract with Hughes, the OH-58A did not automatically replace the OH-6A in operation. Subsequently, the Kiowa and the Cayuse would continue operating in the same theater until the end of the war.

 Bell Helicopter
Bell OH-58D Kiowa

The Bell OH-58 Kiowa is a family of single-engine, single-rotor, military helicopters used for observation, utility, and direct fire support. Bell Helicopter manufactured the OH-58 for the United States Army based on its Model 206A JetRanger helicopter. The OH-58 was in continuous U.S. Army service from 1969 to 2017, when it was replaced in this role by the Boeing AH-64 Apache.

  • History

    Role Observation and reconnaissance helicopter

    National origin United States

    Manufacturer Bell Helicopter

    First flight Bell 206A: 10 January 1966

    OH-58D: 6 October 1983

    OH-58F: 26 April 2013

    Introduction May 1969

  • Users

    Status In service

    Primary users United States Army

    Republic of China Army

    Royal Saudi Land Forces

    Croatian Air Force

    Produced 1966–1989; Number built 2,200
    Developed from Bell 206

  • General Info

    Crew: 1 pilot, 2 pilots, or 1 pilot and 1 observer

    Length: 32 ft 2 in (9.80 m)

    Rotor diameter: 35 ft 4 in (10.77 m)

    Height: 9 ft 7 in (2.92 m)
    Maximum speed: 120 knots (222 km/h (138 mph))
    Guns: six-barreled 7.62 mm M134 minigun mounted on the M27 Armament Subsystem

    or M129 grenade launcher mounted on the XM8 Armament Subsystem


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Bell OH-58D Kiowa


The latest model, the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, is primarily operated in an armed reconnaissance role in support of ground troops. The OH-58 has been exported to Austria, Canada, Croatia, the Dominican Republic, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, and Greece. It has also been produced under license in Australia.