Tunisia seeking Kiowa Warrior helicopters


The United States government has approved a possible sale of 24 OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters, weapons and equipment to Tunisia in a deal worth $100 million.

The US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on Tuesday announced that the possible Foreign Military Sale had been approved.

A wide variety of equipment and weapons would be installed on 24 OH-58D helicopters that are classified as excess defence articles. Major defence equipment listed by the DSCA included 25 Embedded GPS/Inertial (EGI) Navigation Systems (INS); 24 AN/AAR-57 Common Missile Warning Systems (CMWS); 10 AGM-114R Hellfire missiles, and 82 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) rounds. This equipment is worth $44.3 million.

Other items that would be installed on the helicopters include one Rolls-Royce 250-C30R/3 engine, one AN/ARC-164 UHF radio, one AN/ARC-186 VHF radio, one PC-DTS-V Data Recorder, two AN/ARC-201D radios, one AN/APX-118 IFF transponder, one AN/APR-39A(V)1/4 Radar Signal Detecting Set, one AN/AVR-2B Laser Warning Receiver, one M134 DH mini-gun, one M3P Aircraft Gun System, and two 260 rocket launchers.

The Tunisian request also includes 50 AN/AVS-6 Night Vision Goggles (NVGs), 500 000 12.7 mm rounds for the M3P gun system, 2.3 million 7.62 mm rounds for the M134DH mini-gun, the A965M1 Decoy Chaff Cartridges, M211 and M212 Advance Infrared Countermeasures Munition flares, 82 MK66 MOD 4 2.75 inch rocket motors and 82 M152 high explosive warheads to support the APKWS, one EGI for the Combined Armament Avionics Electrical Trainers and six M279A1 Hellfire Launchers.

The total overall estimated value of all equipment, training and support is $100.8 million.

The DSCA said Tunisia has been approved to receive 24 OH-58D Kiowa Warriors via the Excess Defense Articles (EDA) programme under a separate notification. “That separate notification included only the OH-58D airframes, thus this transmittal includes all the major components and customer-unique requirements requested to supplement the EDA grant transfer.”

The DSCA said the proposed sale would help improve the security of Tunisia which has been, and continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in the North African region. The OH-58Ds will enhance Tunisia’s capability to conduct border security and combat operations against terrorists, including Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Libya, and Ansar al-Sharia, Tunisia (AAS-T).

The Kiowa Warriors would join a fleet of Alouette, Sea King, Ecureuil, UH-1 and AB-205 helicopters in service with Tunisia’s military.

The United States Army is in the process of retiring its Kiowa Warrior fleet and replacing them with other types, including unmanned aerial vehicles and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters. Kiowa Warriors, which have served in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, will be retired by 2017.

Tunisia has received military assistance from the United States to combat terrorism in the region. For instance, Tunisia is to receive 12 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters from Sikorsky. Deliveries are set to conclude in 2019. In March the United States Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DETRA) contracted two security and surveillance systems companies to install an electronic surveillance system on the Tunisian border to monitor terrorist movements, particularly on the Libyan side.