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Chopper Wars: 1950 - 1975

Chopper Wars: 1950 - 1975



A military helicopter is a helicopter that is either specifically built or converted for use by military forces. A military helicopter's mission is a function of its design or conversion. The most common use of military helicopters is transport of troops, but transport helicopters can be modified or converted to perform other missions such as combat search and rescue (CSAR), medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), airborne command post, or even armed with weapons for attacking ground targets. Specialized military helicopters are intended to conduct specific missions. Examples of specialized military helicopters are attack helicopters, observation helicopters and anti-submarine warfare helicopters.
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US Army Bell UH-1B "Heavy Hog" Huey Helicopter - 128th AHC "Gunslingers," Vietnam, 1968 US Army Bell UH-1B "Heavy Hog" Huey Helicopter - 128th AHC "Gunslingers," Vietnam, 1968 (1:72 Scale)

So unassuming is the humble Huey (never called "Iroquois" by those who flew them) that its role as one of the major combat aircraft of the century is easily forgotten. More than 12,000 of all models were built and -- on any given day, during its heyday in Vietnam -- 2,000 could be in the air at once.

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French Naval Aviation Sikorsky UH-34D Choctaw Helicopter - 1964 French Naval Aviation Sikorsky UH-34D Choctaw Helicopter - 1964 (1:72 Scale)

The Sikorsky S-58 was developed from the Sikorsky's UH-19 Chickasaw. The aircraft first flew on March 8, 1954. It was initially designated HSS-1 Seabat (in its anti-submarine configuration) and HUS-1 Seahorse (in its utility transport configuration) under the US Navy designation system.

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Royal Navy Westland Wessex HU.5 Helicopter - No 845 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm, HMS Bulwark, 1969 Royal Navy Westland Wessex HU.5 Helicopter - No 845 Squadron, Fleet Air Arm, HMS Bulwark, 1969 (1:72 Scale)

The Westland Wessex is a turbine-powered version of the Sikorsky S-58 "Choctaw", developed under license by Westland Aircraft, initially for the Royal Navy, but later for the Royal Air Force (RAF). The Wessex was built at Westland's factory at Yeovil in Somerset.

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USMC Boeing Vertol CH-46E Sea Knight Helicopter - HMM-163 "Ridge Runners" ("Evil Eyes"), 2010 USMC Boeing Vertol CH-46E Sea Knight Helicopter - HMM-163 "Ridge Runners" ("Evil Eyes"), 2010 (1:72 Scale)

The Boeing CH-46 Sea Knight is a medium-lift tandem rotor assault helicopter, used by the United States Marine Corps (USMC) to provide all-weather, day-or-night assault transport of combat troops, supplies and equipment. Assault Support is its primary function, and the movement of supplies and equipment is secondary.

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Polish Mil Mi-4A Hound Transport Helicopter - Poland, 1964 Polish Mil Mi-4A Hound Transport Helicopter - Poland, 1964 (1:72 Scale)

The Mil Mi-4 (originally known to US intelligence as the Type-36 and later by the NATO reporting name "Hound") was a Soviet transport helicopter that served in both military and civilian roles.

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US Army Piasecki H-21 Shawnee Multi-Mission Helicopter - "Cherry Boy," 121st Aviation Company, Vietnam, 1964 US Army Piasecki H-21 Shawnee Multi-Mission Helicopter - "Cherry Boy," 121st Aviation Company, Vietnam, 1964 (1:72 Scale)

The Piasecki H-21 Workhorse/Shawnee is an American helicopter, the fourth of a line of tandem rotor helicopters designed and built by Piasecki Helicopter (later Boeing Vertol). Commonly called the "flying banana", it was a multi-mission helicopter, utilizing wheels, skis, or floats.

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Soviet Mil Mi-1MU "Hare" Utility Helicopter - Russia, 1961 Soviet Mil Mi-1MU "Hare" Utility Helicopter - Russia, 1961 (1:72 Scale)

The Mil Mi-1 (USAF/DoD reporting name "Type 32", NATO reporting name "Hare") was a Soviet three- or four-seat light utility helicopter. It was the first Soviet helicopter to enter serial production. It is powered by one 575 hp Ivchenko AI-26V radial.

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US Army Bell OH-13H Sioux Observation Helicopter - 1965 US Army Bell OH-13H Sioux Observation Helicopter - 1965 (1:72 Scale)

The Bell H-13 Sioux was a two-bladed, single engine, light helicopter built by Bell Helicopter. Westland Aircraft manufactured the Sioux under license for the British military as the Sioux AH.1 and HT.2.

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US Navy Piasecki HUP-2 Retriever Utility Helicopter - Helicopter Utility Squadron HU-1, 1956 US Navy Piasecki HUP-2 Retriever Utility Helicopter - Helicopter Utility Squadron HU-1, 1956 (1:72 Scale)

The Piasecki H-25 Army Mule/HUP Retriever was a compact single radial engine, twin overlapping tandem rotor utility helicopter developed by the Piasecki Helicopter Corporation of Morton, Pennsylvania during the late 1940s and produced during the early 1950s. The company changed its name in the 1956 to Vertol Aircraft Corporation and subsequently was bought by Boeing Aircraft Company in 1960, and became Boeing-Vertol.

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Polish Air Force Mil Mi-2 Hoplite Utility Helicopter - 1974 Polish Air Force Mil Mi-2 Hoplite Utility Helicopter - 1974 (1:72 Scale)

The Mil Mi-2 (NATO reporting name is "Hoplite") was a small, lightly armored transport helicopter that could also provide close air support when armed with 57 mm rockets and a 23 mm cannon.

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French Army Aerospatiale Alouette II Utility Helicopter - 1972 French Army Aerospatiale Alouette II Utility Helicopter - 1972 (1:72 Scale)

The Arospatiale Alouette II ("Lark") is a light helicopter originally manufactured by Sud Aviation and later Arospatiale, both of France. The Alouette II was the first production helicopter to use a gas turbine engine instead of the conventional heavier piston powerplant.

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US Army Hughes OH-6A Cayuse Observation Helicopter - C Troop, 16th Cavalry, 1972 US Army Hughes OH-6A Cayuse Observation Helicopter - C Troop, 16th Cavalry, 1972 (1:72 Scale)

The Hughes OH-6 Cayuse (nicknamed "Loach", after the requirement acronym LOHLight Observation Helicopter) is a single-engine light helicopter with a four-bladed main rotor used for personnel transport, escort and attack missions, and observation.

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US Army Bell H-13 MedEvac Helicopter - 46th Surgical Hospital MASH, Korea, 1951 US Army Bell H-13 MedEvac Helicopter - 46th Surgical Hospital MASH, Korea, 1951 (1:48 Scale)

One of the first helicopters developed by Bell, the H-13 is a derivative of the Bell Model 30, which was developed as early as 1943. It first flew in 1945 and was delivered to US forces deployed to Korea in January 1951.

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USMC Bell H-13 MedEvac Helicopter - HMX-1, Marine Air Ground Museum, Quantico, VA USMC Bell H-13 MedEvac Helicopter - HMX-1, Marine Air Ground Museum, Quantico, VA (1:48 Scale)

One of the first helicopters developed by Bell, the H-13 is a derivative of the Bell Model 30, which was developed as early as 1943. It first flew in 1945 and was delivered to US forces deployed to Korea in January 1951.

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US Army Bell UH-1B Huey Helicopter - Heavy Hog, 64-13978, Vietnam, 1966 US Army Bell UH-1B Huey Helicopter - "Heavy Hog", 64-13978, Vietnam, 1966 (1:72 Scale)

So unassuming is the humble Huey (never called "Iroquois" by those who flew them) that its role as one of the major combat aircraft of the century is easily forgotten. More than 12,000 of all models were built and -- on any given day, during its heyday in Vietnam -- 2,000 could be in the air at once.

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US Army Bell UH-1C Huey Helicopter - Sharks Gun Platoon, 174th AHC, Aces of Spades, 1st Aviation Brigade, II Corps, Vietnam, 1971 US Army Bell UH-1C Huey Helicopter - Sharks Gun Platoon, 174th AHC, "Aces of Spades", 1st Aviation Brigade, II Corps, Vietnam, 1971 (1:72 Scale)

So unassuming is the humble Huey (never called "Iroquois" by those who flew them) that its role as one of the major combat aircraft of the century is easily forgotten. More than 12,000 of all models were built and -- on any given day, during its heyday in Vietnam -- 2,000 could be in the air at once.

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US Army Bell UH-1B Huey Helicopter - 57th Medical Detachment, Vietnam, 1964-1965 US Army Bell UH-1B Huey Helicopter - 57th Medical Detachment, Vietnam, 1964-1965 (1:72 Scale)

So unassuming is the humble Huey (never called "Iroquois" by those who flew them) that its role as one of the major combat aircraft of the century is easily forgotten. More than 12,000 of all models were built and -- on any given day, during its heyday in Vietnam -- 2,000 could be in the air at once.

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US Army AH-1G Cobra Attack Helicopter - First Lieutenant van Joyce and Captain Joel Hagerman, Crystal Ship, Phouc Vinh, Vietnam, May 1970 US Army AH-1G Cobra Attack Helicopter - First Lieutenant van Joyce and Captain Joel Hagerman, "Crystal Ship", Phouc Vinh, Vietnam, May 1970 (1:48 Scale)

While the ubiquitous UH-1 "Huey" could perform a variety of roles, it was found to be too slow for the gunship or escort role. Bell Helicopter won the competition for an interim fast armed escort helicopter in March 1966, against the Sikorsky S-61 and the Kaman H-2 Tomahawk, while the Army was waiting for the fielding of the AAFSS AH-56A Cheyenne. The AAFSS program was cancelled in 1972.

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US Army Bell UH-1B Huey Helicopter - Ernie Greening, 117th Aviation Company, Vietnam, 1965 US Army Bell UH-1B Huey Helicopter - Ernie Greening, 117th Aviation Company, Vietnam, 1965 (1:48 Scale)

This particular UH-1B Huey helicopter was flown by the US Army's 117th Aviation Company. In addition to the nose-mounted grenade launcher, it also comes equipped with side-mounted armament that include M60 machine guns and 2.75-inch rockets.

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Royal Australian Air Force Bell UH-1B Huey Helicopter - No. 9 Squadron, Williamtown, Australia, 1961 Royal Australian Air Force Bell UH-1B Huey Helicopter - No. 9 Squadron, Williamtown, Australia, 1961 (1:72 Scale)

So unassuming is the humble Huey (never called "Iroquois" by those who flew them) that its role as one of the major combat aircraft of the century is easily forgotten. More than 12,000 of all models were built and -- on any given day, during its heyday in Vietnam -- 2,000 could be in the air at once.

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Royal Australian Air Force Bell UH-1B Huey Helicopter - Battle of Long Tan, Vietnam, 1966 Royal Australian Air Force Bell UH-1B Huey Helicopter - Battle of Long Tan, Vietnam, 1966 (1:72 Scale)

So unassuming is the humble Huey (never called "Iroquois" by those who flew them) that its role as one of the major combat aircraft of the century is easily forgotten. More than 12,000 of all models were built and -- on any given day, during its heyday in Vietnam -- 2,000 could be in the air at once.

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USMC Sikorsky SH-3 Helicopter - MX14 Squadron, Quantico Marine Corps Air Station, Maryland, 1970 USMC Sikorsky SH-3 Helicopter - MX14 Squadron, Quantico Marine Corps Air Station, Maryland, 1970 (1:72 Scale)

The Sea King helicopter, designed in the United States and manufactured under license by Agusta Westland in Britain, has been in service for more than 25 years in navies and air forces of many countries, most of them NATO members. Powered by two Rolls Royce engines, the single-rotor helicopter can fly at a maximum speed of 232 km per hour.

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US Navy Sikorsky HSS-2 Sea King Helicopter - HS-3 Squadron, 1962 US Navy Sikorsky HSS-2 Sea King Helicopter - HS-3 Squadron, 1962 (1:72 Scale)

The Sea King helicopter, designed in the United States and manufactured under license by Agusta Westland in Britain, has been in service for more than 25 years in navies and air forces of many countries, most of them NATO members. Powered by two Rolls Royce engines, the single-rotor helicopter can fly at a maximum speed of 232 km per hour.

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US Army Boeing-Vertol A/ACH-47A Chinook Guns-A-Go-Go Helicopter - "Easy Money", 53rd Aviation Detachment, 1st Cavalry Division US Army Boeing-Vertol A/ACH-47A Chinook Guns-A-Go-Go Helicopter - "Easy Money", 53rd Aviation Detachment, 1st Cavalry Division (1:72 Scale)

The CH-47 is a twin-engine, tandem rotor helicopter designed for transportation of cargo, troops, and weapons during day, night, visual, and instrument conditions. Development of the medium lift Boeing Vertol (models 114 and 414) CH-47 Series Chinook began in 1956.

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US Army Sikorsky CH-34C Choctaw Helicopter - 7th Transportation Group, Fort Eustis, VA, 1966 US Army Sikorsky CH-34C Choctaw Helicopter - 7th Transportation Group, Fort Eustis, VA, 1966 (1:72 Scale)

The Sikorsky S-58 was developed from the Sikorsky's UH-19 Chickasaw. The aircraft first flew on March 8, 1954. It was initially designated HSS-1 Seabat (in its anti-submarine configuration) and HUS-1 Seahorse (in its utility transport configuration) under the US Navy designation system.

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RAF Wessex HC.2 Helicopter - No. 72 Squadron, Odiham, Hamphire, 1970 RAF Westland Wessex HC.2 Helicopter - No. 72 Squadron, Odiham, Hamphire, 1970 (1:72 Scale)

The Westland Wessex is a turbine-powered version of the Sikorsky S-58 "Choctaw", developed under license by Westland Aircraft, initially for the Royal Navy, but later for the Royal Air Force (RAF). The Wessex was built at Westland's factory at Yeovil in Somerset.

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CIA Bell UH-1B Huey Helicopter - Air America, Operation Frequent Wind, Saigon, Vietnam, April 29th, 1975 CIA Bell UH-1B Huey Helicopter - Air America, Operation Frequent Wind, Saigon, Vietnam, April 29th, 1975 (1:72 Scale)

So unassuming is the humble Huey (never called "Iroquois" by those who flew them) that its role as one of the major combat aircraft of the century is easily forgotten. More than 12,000 of all models were built and -- on any given day, during its heyday in Vietnam -- 2,000 could be in the air at once.

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US Navy Bell UH-1B Huey Helicopter - HA(L)-3 "Seawolves," 1967 US Navy Bell UH-1B Huey Helicopter - HA(L)-3 "Seawolves," 1967 (1:72 Scale)

So unassuming is the humble Huey (never called "Iroquois" by those who flew them) that its role as one of the major combat aircraft of the century is easily forgotten. More than 12,000 of all models were built and -- on any given day, during its heyday in Vietnam -- 2,000 could be in the air at once.

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US Army Bell UH-1D Huey Helicopter - Unidentified Unit, Vietnam, 1968 US Army Bell UH-1D Huey Helicopter - Unidentified Unit, Vietnam, 1968 (1:48 Scale)

So unassuming is the humble Huey (never called "Iroquois" by those who flew them) that its role as one of the major combat aircraft of the century is easily forgotten. More than 12,000 of all models were built and -- on any given day, during its heyday in Vietnam -- 2,000 could be in the air at once.

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US Army Bell UH-1D Huey Helicopter - Unidentified Unit, Vietnam, 1968 US Army Bell UH-1D Huey Helicopter - Unidentified Unit, Vietnam, 1968 (1:48 Scale)

So unassuming is the humble Huey (never called "Iroquois" by those who flew them) that its role as one of the major combat aircraft of the century is easily forgotten. More than 12,000 of all models were built and -- on any given day, during its heyday in Vietnam -- 2,000 could be in the air at once.

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