Wednesday, 13 July 2011

What Have Kiowa Warrior And Lynx Wildcat Got In Common?

The Agusta Westland Lynx Wildcat reconnaissance helicopter is often criticised for having it's sensors mounted on it's nose.

Many believe a reconnaissance helicopter should have these sensors mounted above the rotor head in what is known as a Mast Mounted Sight (M.M.S.).

This is where the OH 58D Kiowa carries it's sensors.

Mounting the sensors up high allows the helicopter to see over cover while hovering behind it protected from enemy fire.

This was very useful during the Cold War when these helicopters were expected to be falling back on to friendly terrain ahead of advancing Soviet tank armies.

However,recent operations have seen American forces moving fast and high over terrain controlled by the enemy.

Seeing what is beneath the helicopter is now regarded as more important than hiding behind hills and you can't do that with an M.M.S..

Which is why the latest "F" model of the Kiowa Warrior will have it's sensors relocated to the aircraft's nose.

Just Like the Wildcat.

But with even better all round coverage thanks to the under nose location.

There have also been suggestions that Mast Mounted Sights suffer from vibration more than nose mounted sights.


TheRagingTory said...

Interesting point, I had just assumed there was a maintenance cost to mounting it high, and since the Lynx wasnt supposed to get within fireing range, it wasnt worth paying.

Theres an episode of Top Gear where an Apache tries to hit a Lotus Elise with a hellfire, and Clarkson "hides" directly underneath.

GrandLogistics said...

Hello TheRaging Tory,

that is a good point,it should be a lot easier to maintain in the field being mounted lower.

A nose mounted sensor ball probably costs less and weighs less too.

The Wildcat's sensor would ideally be mounted below the structure it is mounted on rather than above.

Being old enough to remember when Mast Mounted Sights were the very latest in military fashion,it is interesting to see them fall out of favour.

Now,what ever happened to flat plate canopies?