Armed Aerial Scout

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Armed Aerial Scout
Project for Armed scout helicopter
Issued by United States Army
Outcome Cancelled

The Armed Aerial Scout (AAS) was the planned replacement for the OH-58 Kiowa in United States Army service.


The Armed Aerial Scout program replaced the previous Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter program, which chose the Bell ARH-70 Arapaho. An Analysis of Alternatives was conducted and a Request for Proposals was planned to be issued in 2014.[1] The U.S. Army had until December 2012 to decide whether to proceed with the program.[2] On 29 November 2012, Army officials decided to proceed with the Armed Aerial Scout program to acquire a new scout helicopter.[3] On 8 January 2013, the Army began redrafting the presentation for the service's vice chief of staff before they move ahead with a competition. Vice Chief of Staff General Lloyd Austin III requested more data from the voluntary flight demonstrations done on helicopter entries, as well as taking into account the pace of other technologies, such as unmanned capabilities and future sensors.[4] The Army concluded that its decision for the AAS program would result in either a new development effort or a service life-extension program (SLEP) for the OH-58F Kiowa.

Evaluations of commercial off-the-shelf designs were made from voluntary flight demonstrations in 2012. The five candidates included the OH-58F Block II, AH-6i, AAS-72X/X+, MD 540F, and AW139M (used for demonstration, with AW169 AAS offered as candidate). The Sikorsky S-97 Raider was offered, but no prototype was available for demonstration. Army evaluations concluded that no current aircraft met requirements.[5] A decision on the Armed Aerial Scout program was expected "in late summer or early fall" 2013.[6] Boeing had attempted to stop MD Helicopters from offering its MD 540F in the program, as it shared the same airframe design as Boeing's AH-6. In July 2013, MD Helicopters was allowed to continue to promote its offering in the program.[7]

In October 2013, the Army said that the AAS program was at risk of being delayed or cancelled due to sequestration cuts.[8] The Armed Aerial Scout program ended in late 2013 with no alternative scout helicopter being selected for procurement. In 2012, Army leaders had thought a new aircraft was the best option. After sequestration in early 2013, the expected $16 billion cost of a new armed scout helicopter fleet was concluded to be too much. The Army then moved on with considerations for scrapping the entire OH-58 Kiowa fleet and moving more AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters to the active Army for use in the scouting role. AAS requirements for a scout helicopter with increased speed, range, payload, and the ability to fly 6,000 ft (1,800 m) high at 95-degree temperatures will remain and whether one will be bought will depend on aircraft availability and Army funds. Even if the competition isn't reopened, the Army will develop a new scout helicopter as part of the Future Vertical Lift program.[9][10]


Sikorsky S-97 Raider mockup
EADS AAS-72X concept
AVX's Kiowa Warrior-based concept

Contenders have included:

  • In October 2010 a consortium of EADS North America, American Eurocopter and Lockheed Martin announced that it was preparing to fly the first of three AAS-72X prototypes.[11] The design is in the same family as the Eurocopter UH-72 Lakota.[11]
Bell OH-58F Block II
  • Upgrade of the current Kiowa Warrior.
Boeing AH-6S
AgustaWestland AW109
  • Multipurpose light helicopter
Sikorsky S-97 Raider
  • In May 2009, Sikorsky unveiled a mock-up of its X2-based contender[12][13] later given the company's S-97 designation.[14]
  • Proposed by the AVX Aircraft Company is a modification of the current OH-58D design to meet the AAS requirement.[15] The design uses the basic Kiowa fuselage and adds a counter-rotating coaxial rotor and two ducted fans.[16]

Contenders by 2012[edit]

Candidate helicopters for interim replacement were to conduct flight demonstrations in spring 2012.[17]

The contenders as of June 2012 were:[18]


  1. ^ Tony Skinner (25 October 2010). "AUSA 10: Sikorsky unveils the 'Raider' X2". Shephard Group Limited. Archived from the original on 1 November 2010. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
  2. ^ AUSA: Bell starts OH-58 Block II flight demo.
  3. ^ "U.S. Army officials said to back new scout helicopter"., 30 November 2012.
  4. ^ Kiowa Replacement Inches Closer To Fruition -, 9 January 2013
  5. ^ Drwiega, Andrew. "Proceed with Caution: JMR Tech Demo Phase 1" Aviation Today, 1 November 2013. Accessed: 5 October 2014.
  6. ^ U.S. Army Confirms AAS Will Be New Start Or OH-58 SLEP -, 10 May 2013
  7. ^ Lynn Tilton Bests Boeing in Helicopter Arbitration -, 25 July 2013
  8. ^ Army Considers Killing Ground Combat Vehicle -, 21 October 2013
  9. ^ Outgoing General: US Army Must Continue To Fund Research and Development -, 14 January 2014
  10. ^ Army Debates Divestment of Kiowa Warrior; Replacement Program in Doubt Archived 19 January 2014 at -, 14 January 2014
  11. ^ a b Armed Aerial Scout 72X - Press Release
  12. ^ Trimble, Stephen. "Sikorsky unveils mock-up X2 armed scout". Flightglobal, 4 May 2009.
  13. ^ Coaxial contenders for US Army armed aerial scout - Australian Aviation
  14. ^ Brannen, Kate. "Sikorsky Plans To Build Two X2 Helo Prototypes". Defense News, 20 October 2010.
  15. ^ Product History OH-58D/AVX Archived 29 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ AVX Fact Sheet[ Archived 7 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Butler, Amy. "New Army Helo A Tough Choice Amid Belt-Tightening" (subscription article). Aviation Week & Space Technology, 23 January 2012.
  18. ^ Army begins tour of Armed Aerial Scout suitors - Army Times, 27 June 2012
  19. ^ AgustaWestland is In -- But is There an AAS Program? Archived 2 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine -, 12 April 2013
  20. ^ "MD Uncovers ‘Lethal’ 540F". Aviation
  21. ^ "AgustaWestland demonstrates AW139 for US Army AAS programme"., 5 July 2012.[unreliable source?]

External links[edit]