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Review: DCS OH-58D Kiowa Warrior by Polychop Simulations

Updated: Jul 8

After a long time in development, it is now the time to shine for Polychop Simulations' newest helicopter: The legendary OH-58D Kiowa Warrior. A smaller, heavy and somewhat underpowered platform, the Kiowa was made with observation and scouting duties in mind. It serves quite excellently in these roles, as well as CAS duties during Iraq and Afghanistan. Additionally, it now serves with several different nations, such as Greece and Taiwan.

It is now time for us in DCS World to enjoy this fabulous aircraft in all its glory, and that is something we say seriously. This release is a rarity for DCS World standards, as it was released into the game as a complete module. No early access, no tricks. Just for doing this, we have nothing but respect for Polychop, as this is proof of how confident they are in the quality of their products.



Externally, the Kiowa looks mighty fine. A lot of detail has been packed into this model, with everything from the different fuselage-mounted sensors to the mounted weapon assemblies and harnesses. Depending on the livery, the weathering on the fuselage can go from very mild to extreme, to reflect where some of these birds were and the conditions they flew under. It feels like a definite step up from the Gazelle, and I am proud of what the devs have done with this model. A notable addition to this model is the wide range of customization available to the mission editor. They can add or remove the IRCM (Infrared Countermeasure) system, equip two different sets of skids, and so much more. Here, take a look at the model yourself:

As for the cockpit, the quality shown on the external model persists. It is weathered, but not enough to look like a museum piece, like some other modules currently available for purchase. It looks roughed up and beaten, but also taken care of by maintainers that need the bird up in the air at any time. Additionally, all the changes to equipment are reflected in the cockpit with the removal or installation of several different panels.

The pilot and co-pilot models are the most alive any of these have ever felt in DCS. They have a bit more character than we are used to and their animations, while somewhat stiff due to limitations, do bring these models to life more than any other ones we have seen in the game. Everything from holding the M4 out of the window to grabbing a smoke grenade, pulling the pin and throwing it out of the door. These are the points that make a difference with modules in DCS, and Polychop has outdone all other helicopters in DCS with their addition. Here, take a look:



The Kiowa is not really a visually impressive aircraft in the same way that something like a Phantom would, or any other fixed wing aircraft. It cannot pull vapes when you push it, or have a spectacular afterburner effect. What it can have, it has. This comes in the shape of what seems to be the inclusion of ED's rotor blur technology that gives the rotor assemble an amazing sense of movement, as we have seen previously on the Apache and Hind.

Night lighting is pretty spot on, and it certainly can become a bit of a Christmas tree with all the external lights on at night. Cockpit lighting is on-par with the external lighting, as well as how it is reflected on the latter when you turn on your lights in-cockpit. It is an alright bird in this category, and we cannot complain much.

A category we can applaud them on is sound design, as this has that "spark" that is so rare in DCS modules. We can tell what my aircraft is doing just by listening to the way the rotor sounds, and that feedback is precious when we cannot rely on all of our other senses. You can hear the air rush by when you pick up speed, as well as the difference in rotor sound when you enter a roll or start pushing the aircraft a bit.

Polychop have created an excellent sound environment that compliments the flight model perfectly, and we have nothing but good things to say about it. Well done!



DISCLAIMER: This is always a tough category, as like with any other aircraft, there is a lot to take into consideration other than just the feel of the flight model. This category is the most subjective one in this article, as we do not have any real world experience with this craft. We will only base our opinion on practical experience and knowledge of practical aerodynamics and the theoretical behavior that a OH-58D should have under certain scenarios. If you want to talk about realism, please refer to CasmoTV or Barundus, two of the SMEs with thousands of hours logged on the Kiowa each.

With the disclaimer out of the way, we will start by saying that this is the best feeling helicopter currently in the game, period. It is the closest we have felt to properly flying a real helicopter in DCS, and that is something we do not say lightly. The flight model is a thing of beauty, and we cannot get enough of flying this helicopter.

It behaves exactly how you think a helicopter would, with none of the usual quirks that come with simulated flight characteristics. It feels stable on the hover without force trim, and hand-flying it is easier than riding a bike. Applying torque with the anti-torque pedals results in predictable motions that you can control appropriately.

Additionally, falling on VRS (vortex-ring state) situations is a rarity, as long as you fly it within parameters and control your descent rate properly. During landings and take-offs, you can also distinctly feel the aircraft settle on ground effect, which is something that took us by surprise. RBS (Retreating blade stall) is also manageable, as this aircraft doesn't really have a lot of power to begin with in order to get you going that fast, especially when fully loaded.

The Kiowa is a delight to fly, and we cannot get enough of it. Polychop, Kinkku, well done! You've shown everyone why PC are the kings of helicopters in DCS.



If you come into the Kiowa thinking it will be as capable and/or well-armed as an Apache or Hind, well, you are not going to enjoy what I have to say. The OH-58D Kiowa Warrior's main role is that of a scout and observer. To understand this, one has to understand where the Kiowa comes from. It is essentially the militarized version of the Bell 206 that initially entered service during the Vietnam War in the late 1960s, one which has seen a plethora of modifications throughout the years going from the OH-58A to the OH-58D, and some prototypes here and there.

It was meant to be an observer aircraft capable of directing artillery fire and performing Aerial Forward Air Controller (AFAC) duties. It was never meant to be an attack helicopter.

With that being said, the version we have is a OH-58D from around 2012-2016, one of the last versions ever to see service with the U.S. Army. It includes a fully digital/glass cockpit, as well as INS/GPS navigation, advanced survivability equipment and the iconic Mast Mounted Sight (MMS). This also includes a first for DCS, a set of functional airbags upon crash!

This bird is capable of performing AFAC duties sublimely, as well as enacting its own light-attack missions thanks to the use of the MMS in conjunction with the laser guided weaponry it can carry. Additionally, it can perform these duties during the day and night, thanks to its modifications that made night flying a breeze for pilots.

This bird does excel in low-threat environments similar to those in which it saw most of its action, such as Afghanistan and even Iraq. Thanks to its ability to equip relatively cheap weaponry, as well as having a low operational cost, this bird was a soldier's ally when it came down to receiving Close Air Support (CAS). It might not be as famous as its bigger brother, the AH-64D Apache, but it certainly saw plenty of action and is an aircraft cherished by those that flew it and those it protected on the ground.




One of your main means of sharing your love with your enemies.

500 rounds max, 100 min.


Your classic 70mm rocket pods capable of carrying 7 rockets each, from guided to unguided rockets. MAX of 2 pods for a total of 14 Hydra rockets that come in two unguided types:

  • M151 10 pound HE rockets

  • M229 17 pound HE rockets


The laser guided version of the M151 10 pound rockets. They are accurate, lighter than Hellfires, and you can carry a total of 14 of these in two pods (7 per pod).


The most capable long range weapon that the Kiowa can carry, this missile will delete everything you point your laser at. You can carry two per pylon for a total of 4 missiles, but that set-up is not recommended. Instead, carry two of these alongside a rocket pod or your trusty .50 cal.


The Kiowa can also defend itself in the air-to-air arena, all thanks to the Stingers. These missiles can be equipped in pairs for a theoretical total of 4 missiles, but that is a set-up we wouldn't recommend.


A first in DCS, you are able to whip out your trusty 5.56 carbine and throw lead out the door. You have a total of 5 mags with 30 rounds each, for a total of 150 rounds. It can only be used by the left seater. This is also VR compatible!


A Kiowa-classic, the M18 smoke grenade can be tossed out of the window or door to mark objectives during a fly-by. It comes in these colors: Blue, Green, Red, Violet, White and Yellow.



This is one of if not the easiest helicopter to fly in DCS thanks to its predictable flight dynamics, as well as its stable yet very fun flight profile. It is not as complex to fly as the Apache, but not as simple and analog as the OH-6A Cayuse. We think it is the ideal starter helicopter for those that want to take a step up from all the flyable helicopter mods.

Having issues? Then you have to have seen these airbags pop!

Additionally, this module comes with an AI-Pilot! This system can fly the helicopter for you in a number of situations, including hovering in relatively strong winds and even navigation from waypoint to waypoint. If you are a solo-pilot, you can rely on this system to keep that hover for you while you employ your weapon systems at a distance. It is easy to manage and very reliable, so it can only add to the accessibility that this module already has.



If what you want in a module is:

  • A wonderfully crafted flight model.

  • A unique experience while flying.

  • To be able to spot for your friends that only fly fixed-wing.

  • To fly the most enjoyable helicopter in DCS.

If you don't mind:

  • Not having 16 Hellfires under your wings.

  • Being relatively slow compared to other helos.

  • Having fun.

  • See above.

If all or some of the above is what you want, then Polychop's OH-58D Kiowa Warrier is for you.



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