Created by the U.S. Army in 1967, this film about the Bell OH-58 Kiowa helicopter features footage from the Vietnam War, emphasizing the concept of air mobility and showing the OH-58A scout.
The Bell OH-58 Kiowa is a family of single-engine, single-rotor, military helicopters used for observation, utility, and direct fire support. Bell Helicopter manufactured the OH-58 for the United States Army based on its Model 206A JetRanger helicopter. The OH-58 has been in continuous use by the U.S. Army since 1969.
On 14 October 1960, the United States Navy asked 25 helicopter manufacturers on behalf of the Army for proposals for a Light Observation Helicopter (LOH). Bell Helicopter entered the competition along with 12 other manufacturers, including Hiller Aircraft and Hughes Tool Co., Aircraft Division. Bell submitted the D-250 design, which would be designated as the YHO-4. On 19 May 1961, Bell and Hiller were announced as winners of the design competition.
Bell developed the D-250 design into the Model 206 aircraft, redesignated as YOH-4A in 1962, and produced five prototype aircraft for the Army’s test and evaluation phase. The first prototype flew on 8 December 1962. The YOH-4A also became known as the Ugly Duckling in comparison to the other contending aircraft. Following a flyoff of the Bell, Hughes and Fairchild-Hiller prototypes, the Hughes OH-6 Cayuse was selected in May 1965.
When the YOH-4A was rejected by the Army, Bell went about solving the problem of marketing the aircraft. In addition to the image problem, the helicopter lacked cargo space and only provided cramped quarters for the planned three passengers in the back. The solution was a fuselage redesigned to be more sleek and aesthetic, adding 16 cubic feet (0.45 m3) of cargo space in the process.] The redesigned aircraft was designated as the Model 206A, and Bell President Edwin J. Ducayet named it the JetRanger denoting an evolution from the popular Model 47J Ranger.
In 1967, the Army reopened the LOH competition for bids because Hughes Tool Co. Aircraft Division could not meet the contractual production demands. Bell resubmitted for the program using the Bell 206A. Fairchild-Hiller failed to resubmit their bid with the YOH-5A, which they had successfully marketed as the FH-1100. In the end, Bell underbid Hughes to win the contract and the Bell 206A was designated as the OH-58A. Following the U.S. Army’s naming convention for helicopters, the OH-58A was named Kiowa in honor of the Native American tribe.
The Bell OH-58 (model 206) was designed in 1960 for the U.S. Army as a Light Observation Helicopter, and first flew in 1962. During its test phase, Bell also developed a civilain derivative, the model 206A Jet Ranger which first flew in 1966 that was similar to the 206 but with some minor improvements. In 1967, the Army showed more interest and Bell won the contract to produce the OH-58A. Deliveries of 2,200 Kiowas began in May 1969.
This same year the Kiowa would see duty in Vietnam. Used as a scout, they were originally designed as a replacement for the Hughes OH-6 Cayuse, but the popularity of it never reached that of the Cayuse. Some Air Cav units deployed the OH-58 and had some success though 28 Kiowas were lost to hostile fire. The OH-58 performed well at low speeds and the tail rotor could be used to “horse around” a turn, rather than fly through it. This gave it super maneuverability. The OH-58 has been used in support of the Army for several years and today they fly the OH-58D. The back seats carry equipment rather than people and have many updated systems.
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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD and 2k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com