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Thread: Vietnam War Helicopter Aviation: OH-6A and OH-58A

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    Default Vietnam War Helicopter Aviation: OH-6A and OH-58A

    A short overview about the OH-6A "Cayuse" and OH-58A "Kiowa" variants use during the Vietnam War era. Both helicopters were part of the LOH (Ligtht Observation Helicopter) program.


    OH-6A "Cayuse":



    The OH-6A was mainly used as Observation Helicopter as it's designation already says. Sometimes an M60 was attached to a sling and used as doorgun.
    The helicopter was often used together with one or two AH-1G Cobras. This setup was called a "Pink Team" or sometimes "the Tadpole and the Snake(s)".
    There was also an armed version in use that was a equipped with the M27 Armament Subsystem which carried a M134 7.62mm minigun on the left of the helicopter.



    Because the OH-6 could carry a little more weight some crews mounted three tubes for 2.75 inch rockets on the right side of the helicopter.





    The Real Cav "OH-6C":




    The "OH-6C" was the creation of the Maintenance Section of The Real Cav, B Troop 7/17th Air Cavalry Squadron, which was stationed near Pleiku in early 1972. Armed with a 40mm grenade launcher in a nose turret, and two 19-tube 2.75 inch rocket launchers, the "OH-6C" was ready to take on anything. Unfortunately, the weight of the armament kept the little bird from taking off.


    OH-58A "Kiowa":



    The OH-58A was also used in the observation role. There was also a version equipped with the M27 Armament Subsystem which carried a M134 7.62mm minigun on the left of the helicopter like the OH-6A.



    ----------------

    If you want more precise informations on the armament you may visit the following link.

    http://tri.army.mil/LC/cs/csa/aawpns.htm

    All infos and pictures are gather from various sources found in the net. I tried to use pictures that are not explicitly copyright protected and resized/reworked some of them to fit this short overview.

    If you have any additonal infos, corrections, questions, complaints etc., please post them here in this topic. Thank you!


    Greetz
    Plage

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    Member Paulinski's Avatar
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    OH-6A are cool little choppers. Are those the same as the little birds used currently?

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    Senior Member Zoomie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulinski View Post
    OH-6A are cool little choppers. Are those the same as the little birds used currently?
    In a way yes, but the Littlebird is a newer model of the MD500. The most distinguishable difference between the two is the Cayuse had a 'Y' Tail:

    and the Littlebird has a 'T' Tail:

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    Quote Originally Posted by T.S.C.Plage View Post




    Because the OH-6 could carry a little more weight some crews mounted three tubes for 2.75 inch rockets on the right side of the helicopter.
    Greetz
    Plage
    Actually the OH-6 carried a 7.62 mini-gun on the left side of the aircraft. Some air cavalry crews took them off due to the weight penalty. It was pretty much a unit SOP decision. I do not believe the Loach ever carried a rocket pod in Vietnam, but could be mistaken. Two crew ammo and gas pretty much max'ed out the capability of the aircraft.

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    Unicus Ac Immortalis II Dark Avenger's Avatar
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    See the photo below the sentence you quoted. And usually the Loaches had the minigun (fired by the pilot) and a standard infantry type M60 for the observer, suspended from a bungee cord. Some crews improvised with bombs (oil cans with thermite grenades taped on, or "daisy cutters" - ammo belts wrapped around grenades). Using them, however, required overflying the target, which was asking to get clobbered, especially if there were DShKs or SGMs around, and so it was discouraged as the scout pilots had the Minigun for stand-off firepower.

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    Member Paulinski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoomie View Post
    In a way yes, but the Littlebird is a newer model of the MD500. The most distinguishable difference between the two is the Cayuse had a 'Y' Tail:

    and the Littlebird has a 'T' Tail:
    Thanks for the clarification.

    In Vietnam there were used for low level recon. I remember reading somewhere that it was one of the most dangerous jobs a pilot could be assigned to.

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    Member yasotay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Avenger View Post
    See the photo below the sentence you quoted. And usually the Loaches had the minigun (fired by the pilot) and a standard infantry type M60 for the observer, suspended from a bungee cord. Some crews improvised with bombs (oil cans with thermite grenades taped on, or "daisy cutters" - ammo belts wrapped around grenades). Using them, however, required overflying the target, which was asking to get clobbered, especially if there were DShKs or SGMs around, and so it was discouraged as the scout pilots had the Minigun for stand-off firepower.
    My apologies at missing that. Nor was I claiming that Loaches did not have the mini-gun. Having spent a lot of time flying with some of the folks that flew Loaches in Vietnam, I can tell you that many of them did not like the extra weight in the high DA and temp in Vietnam that made the Loach a pig with all that weight. Stand off... since the Loach had nothing more than eyeballs to do recon work they did not have a lot of stand off. Given that much of the time they were more interested in getting out of the line of fire (and the way of the Cobra's rolling in) they were really not interested in getting in a shooting match. That was why they had the Cobras at altitude to roll in when the Loach found a target or got shot at.

    That aside, T.S.C. Plage thank you for all of fantastic pictures.

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    Unicus Ac Immortalis II Dark Avenger's Avatar
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    Referring back to Mills' narrations, "stand-off" was about 25m. Point-blank really, but beats coming down in the middle of the bad guys. And yes, the standard tactic was for the Loach to troll for fire and hightail it out of the way for the Snake to roll in and lay down its ordnance.

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    My father flew OH-6s with the 101st Abn Div 1969-1970 out of Camp Eagle, RVN. He disagrees with the gun being a so called "weight penalty" and actually felt that the OH-6 was overpowered. Also out of his aviation platoon, which had 4 OH-6As and 4 UH-1H helicopters, there was only 1 XM-27E1 armt. system for the 4 OH-6s. They weren't supposed to be always armed. It depended on the intended mission they were going to fly. If they were going to fly a mission that would require the gun, they would mount it. If not they helicopter remained unarmed.

    Here is a picture of 1 of the 4 he flew at the 1st Bde Aviation Platoon, HHC 1st Bde 101st Abn Div at Camp Eagle in 1970.

    Note his M16 on his seat, and the crew chiefs M60 in the back with no stock.

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    Thanks for the infos and pic. Can you please ask your father if he knows anything about rocket-launchers mounted on Loaches?


    Greetz
    Plage

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    Some more photos and infos.


    OH-6A Cayuse:

    Another shot of the M27 Armament Subysystem with the M134 7.62mm minigun.



    Here with mounted cover.



    Another one with 3-tube rocket launcher.



    A Cayuse with minigun and rocket launcher.



    A version with the XM8 Armament Subsystem. This system was a side mounted belt-fed M129 40mm grenade launcher on a mount with flexible elevation.



    Another shot of the XM8 Armament Subsystem.



    A more rare version was an OH-6A with a M134 minigun mounted in the right backdoor on a flexible mount for the use as doorgun.



    Another shot of the "minidoorgun".




    ...

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    Another very special version.


    NOH-6A "The Quiet One":

    The NOH-6A (Night Observation Helicopter) was also called the Hughes 500P ("P" for Penetrator). It was a special version build for the CIA and was optimized for nighttime observations. Therefore it got all kind of IR/Nighttime observation devices (like a FLIR). Besides that it also got an acustically optimized engine, rotors, smoothed out gear and transmission and all kind of sound-proofing materials for a better noise reduction. Two helicopters of this type were build.



    Front view of "The Quiet One".



    During evaluations.



    With an upgraded FLIR.



    The cockpit got FLIR monitors for pilot and co-pilot.



    The optimized 5-blade rotor for better noise reduction.



    The optimized tail-rotor with 4-blades. Actually it are two rotors with two blades each to better counter the produced noise (the same system used on the AH-64 "Apache" for the same reason).



    ----------------

    For additional informations on the NOH-6A you may visit the following links.

    http://cs.finescale.com/forums/3/806...st.aspx#806736

    http://www.airspacemag.com/military-...tml?c=y&page=1

    All infos and pictures are gathered from various sources found in the net. I tried to use pictures that are not explicitly copyright protected and resized/reworked some of them to fit this short overview.

    If you have any additonal infos, corrections, questions, complaints etc., please post them here in this topic. Thank you!


    Greetz
    Plage
    Last edited by T.S.C.Plage; 04-15-2009 at 04:16 AM.

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    Another shot of "The Real Cav" OH-6C (see my first post for more infos).




    Greetz
    Plage

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    Hugh Mills is a f[*******black]u[/color]cking legend.

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    If somebody gets shot down 16 times (!) he somehow has to be.

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