Croatia has reached initial operational capability with its OH-58D Kiowa Warriors less than a year after receiving them as part of the Excess Defense Articles program. Combat Aircraft visits the new Croatian Kiowa Warrior squadron to find out how this was achieved so quickly.



IN FEBRUARY 2016, Croatia became the second country after Tunisia to acquire excess Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warriors from the US Army, soon followed by Greece. All the helicopters — comprising 16 OH-58Ds plus an instructional airframe — were delivered to the Croatian Air Force (Hrvatsko ratno zrakoplovstvo i protuzracna obrana) at Zadar-Zemunik air base by the end of the year after the army decided to retire the type in a drastic cost-cutting move. It took a few months for US instructors to arrive, before they began flights with the ‘new’ Warriors in April, accompanied by Croatian pilots. The five US instructor pilots then trained eight Croatian pilots under a ‘train the trainers’ principle for an initial cadre of local expertise.

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