posted on Jan, 17 2019 @ 04:54 PM
originally posted by: seagull
a reply to: RadioRobert
What's the issue with the Kiowa? Simply age, or is there something else going on? Upgrade issues, or something like that?
It was age, really. Getting expensive to keep them up and there were questions about survivability.
So they started Comanche. Which died an ugly death in mid-2000s(ish) because of program mismanagement (but was probably doomed from the start). By the
time we're into Afghanistan, Iraq, the Kiowas aren't any younger. Hot and high performance was underwhelming. And we're losing airframes that there
aren't any replacements for.
So they started the ARH program for a replacement, chose an updated 407 in the Arapaho which was basically the next -gen JetRanger/Kiowa. Program
costs rose, so they cancelled it over protests from Army Aviation.
They told everyone to make do with drones which would be cheaper.
Surprising very few people in the field, even brass was quickly convinced that in many environments (urban, dense foilage) there is no replacement for
human eyeballs and the ability to hover -- despite however many nifty sensors (typically with a very narrow FOV) and displays you have on a drone.
Big and heavy Apaches were quickly assigned the task, which is less than ideal (for economy reasons, but especially as it means you're stretching the
Apache fleet). Also, Apache guys can't wait to be off that mission and be back to purely fire-support missions.
Shockingly, the Army has actually decided it needs to fast track a replacement as part of FVL (whereafter they will be shocked at the price tag and
walk away and tell the people in the field to make do with drones if history is any indicator.)
Cross your fingers.
edit on 17-1-2019 by RadioRobert because: (no reason given)