Retiring Army Bells Not Heading to Civvy Street

 - July 21, 2015, 4:25 PM

Single-engine helicopters divested under the U.S. Army’s Aviation Restructure Initiative will not be finding their way onto the civilian market. The Army plans to shed approximately 340 attack/scout Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warriors between 2014 and 2017 and approximately 180 Bell TH-67 primary trainers between 2015 and 2019 as it transitions to an all twin-engine fleet of Airbus UH-72As, Boeing AH-64 Apaches and CH-47 Chinooks and Sikorsky UH-60s. 

Under the plan, the Armed Scout Helicopter Project Office will execute divestment of the OH-58A/C/D Kiowa Warriors and TH-67s. OH-58D divestment began in the late spring last year and is scheduled to be complete in Fiscal Year 2017. TH-67 divestment began in June this year and is scheduled to be complete in FY19.

The Army screens divested aircraft for potential reuse in accordance with DoD 4160.21-M “Defense Materiel Disposition Manual.”

An Army spokesman told AIN, “As the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior was designed solely for military combat and tactical operations, it has no commercial flight application and faces certain restrictions for reutilization. The disposal/reutilization screening process indicates three primary recipients of the divested Kiowa Warriors: excess defense article/foreign military sales (EDA/FMS), static display and parts harvest. Most divested Kiowa Warriors are entering non-flyable storage for future EDA/FMS cases. Smaller numbers of aircraft are either transferring for static display through the Center for Military History (CMH) or inducting into parts harvest to support sustainment of the remaining fleet through the DoD supply system.”

While the TH-67, the military version of the popular Bell 206B-3 JetRanger, has commercial flight applications, the spokesman said, “The disposal/reutilization screening process indicates TH-67s will be reutilized by Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Justice (DOJ) activities, law enforcement agencies and military training facilities such as the Naval Test Pilot School.” The Navy currently uses its own version of the 206, the TH-57, as a primary trainer.