Boeing’s AH-6i Light Attack-Reconnaissance Aircraft – EastValleyTribune.com

So, the original Light Observation Helicopter, the OH-6A Cayuse, was replaced by the OH-58, now updated to the OH-58D. The supposed replacement for the OH-58D, the ARH-70, was based on an updated OH-58 airframe. But that program collapsed. So now, Boeing is offering to replace the OH-58 with an update of the OH-6… about 50 years after it first flew!

 

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7 thoughts on “Boeing’s AH-6i Light Attack-Reconnaissance Aircraft – EastValleyTribune.com”

    1. Just turned it back in to the local library. Apparently Mills, after retiring from the army, got a local job flying Hughes 500s for the Sheriff dept just to my east. He was recently profiled on local news. Must be a bit more tame than his exploits from the book or his subsequent undocumented tours. I am a fan of his book, as well as Matt Brennan’s books about air CAV in Vietnam. Got to love when the phone auto capitalizes CAV but not Vietnam. Anyway, check out the library for lots of free stuff.

  1. The Hughes 500 was actually superior to the Bell Jet Ranger which became the OH-58. Bill Tuttle told me that the Army replaced the Cayuse with the Kiowa because Ladybird Johnson owned a large chunk of Bell stock and the Generals were trying to buy some goodwill at the White House.

    The ostensible reason was the parts from Hughes were higher priced than Bell’s, but bill said the prices rose after the Army adopted the Jet Ranger.

    The Army’s Helo demo team operated the OH-6 and I saw them while I was at Rucker about a year before they were disbanded. The Jet Ranger could not do what the 500 could, so the Silver Eagles were disbanded when the OH-6 was phased out of the active inventory.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing an updated MD-500 adopted to replace the OH-58.

    1. Hughes couldn’t crank out enough OH-6s fast enough for Vietnam, so Bell was told to build OH-58s to help meet the need. As to the how and why the OH-58s were selected to stay in the inventory, it seems that spare parts and such were an issue. Whether that was the right call…?

    2. My understanding was that production rate was not a problem with Hughes. They lost the bid when the contract was reopened by something like $3K per airframe. Hughes did lose money on fulfilling the earlier contract.

      Bill’s explanation may also be true. I have no idea if so, but would not be surprised.

  2. I can’t find anything other than rumors to substantiate the claim about Ladybird Johnson and Bell Helicopter. Bell Helicopter was a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron as of 1960. So it would have been impossible for Lady Bird to just own stock in Bell by the time of the Vietnam conflict.

    Mrs. Johnson became a millionaire through a deal in the 40’s where she became part owner of several radio stations in Texas one of which eventually became KLBJ in Austin.

    The more likely explanation that I have actually seen through reputable sources is the story that Hughes sold the original airframes at a lower than actual costs and when it came time to re-bid the contract they attempted to re-coup their losses and make a profit, the Army balked and switched to the OH-58 (which was a loser in the first scout helicopter competition). The ’58 had the same engine as the OH-6 but because it was heavier and the tail rotor design it suffered from tail rotor controllability issues. Even the “C” model with a bigger engine had some tail rotor controllability problems in certain conditions. It was never as good an all around helicopter as an OH-6.

    To see a helicopter that has a lot of promise that should have gotten more play than it did take a look at this one… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_XH-51

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