Record formation of 30 U.S. Army’s Kiowa helicopters performs farewell flight over Fort Bragg

U.S. Army Bell OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopters performed their final US training flight.

On Apr. 15, a formation made by 30 OH-58 Kiowa Warriors from 1-17 CAV, part of the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, took to the skies of Fort Bragg and Fayetteville, North Carolina, for a farewell flight over the base and the local community for the years of support.

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The unique formation marked the final U.S. training flight for the armed reconnaissance helicopters as the last Kiowa squadron in mainland America prepares to deploy to South Korea to join the only remaining OH-58 unit outside the U.S.: after the 9-month rotation in South Korea the squadron will return stateside and adopt other aircraft, both manned and unmanned.

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The Kiowa Warrior, is the armed version of the Kiowa, employed by the U.S. Army from 1969. The new variant, that embedded new systems and weapons pod, were inducted into active service beginning in 1987.

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Since then, the OH-58s have flown in the Persian Gulf as well as in Afghanistan, conducting scout and light assault missions in a configuration that included a mix of Hellfire missiles, rocket launchers, machine guns and  Stinger missiles.

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Image credit: 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade

 

About David Cenciotti 3843 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.