Warplanes: August 7, 2005


The U.S. Army is buying 368 militarized Bell 407 helicopters to replace its aging OH-58D. Originally, the army was going to replace the 1960s era OH-58Ds with a new design, the RAH-66 Comanche. But that project ran too late and too over-budget and was cancelled. The OH-58 was a militarized version of the Bell 206, and the new ARH will be a militarized version of a more recent commercial chopper, the Bell 407. The ARHs will cost about $6-$9 million each, and are a little larger than the OH-58. Deliveries will take place between 2006 and 2013. This may be the last manned recon helicopter the army uses, as a robotic recon helicopter will enter service at the same time the ARH does. Since recon choppers have the highest accident, and combat loss, rates, replacing them with unmanned helicopters makes a lot of sense.


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