The US Army has awarded a $9.7m contract to British aircraft engine manufacturer Rolls Royce to provide gas turbine engines for the Army’s OH-58D Kiowa helicopter.

The lightweight and powerful gas turbine engines offer very low failure rates compared to jet engines, which have a far higher number of internal moving parts.

The Bell OH-58 Kiowa is a single-engine, single-rotor military helicopter used for observation, utility and direct fire support.

The Kiowa features a video recorder to store TV and thermal imagery, cockpit playback capability, data transfer system, a night vision goggle flight reference symbology display and advanced fire weapons systems.

Work will be carried out in Indiana and is expected to be complete by 31 December 2012.