US Army AAS Competition ... STILL on the Horizon

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The Army is inching forward in its plans to replace an aging fleet of OH-58D Kiowa Warriors with some key meetings in the last two months.

But, after a meeting last month, Army officials are rescoping a presentation for the service’s vice chief of staff on the way forward for the controversial Armed Aerial Scout (AAS) program before they can move forward with a possible competition for the Kiowa Warrior replacement.

Gen. Lloyd Austin, III, vice chief of staff, requested more data from the voluntary flight demonstration held by the Army, which allowed for contractors to showcase their existing aircraft in a realistic setting. Additionally, Lloyd directed the team to take into account the pace of development and fielding of other technologies – such as unmanned aerial systems and future sensors – that could augment the AAS mission area. “We have to get this one right because it is probably the last chance” the Army will have to establish a way forward, Lynch says.

Lynch says he is confident multiple contractors can offer bids if a competition is established by the Army, though “most” of the options will likely cost more than the window established by Kendall.

Because of the cost pressure and the time available to field a system, the Army is looking at “conventional” technologies, rather than funding a leap in capabilities through a large development program.

Meanwhile, the Army plans to continue funding the Cockpit and Sensor Upgrade Program for the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior and sensor at a cost of roughly $3.8 million per aircraft to address obsolescence issues.

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