The Tunisian government has taken delivery of the first six of 24 OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters from the United States in a ceremony at a military base in Gabes, Tunisia.
Deliveries of the remaining 18 aircraft are expected to conclude in March, according to a Tunisian government statement issued on 4 February.
According to the statement, the helicopters were handed over in a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, and will be used to fight terrorism. The aircraft will be able to provide reconnaissance, security, air support, surveillance and targeting.
In May 2016 the United States government approved the sale of 24 ex-US Army OH-58Ds, weapons and equipment to Tunisia in a deal worth $100 million. A wide variety of equipment and weapons will be installed on the OH-58D helicopters that are classified as excess defence articles, including Common Missile Warning Systems (CMWS); AGM-114R Hellfire missiles; M124 miniguns; rocket launchers, and Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) rounds. This additional equipment is worth $44.3 million.
Tunisian pilots began training on the Kiowa Warriors at Roswell International Air Centre in the United States in September 2016. Training was provided by Integration Innovation Inc (I3) under contract from the US Army. 24 pilots and 50 technicians were trained.
Tunisia is also due to receive 12 Black Hawk armed transport helicopters with Battlehawk kits from the United States and last year took delivery of 12 Maule MX-7 light aircraft for border surveillance.