OH-6 Cayuse Helicopter

OH-6 Cayuse Helicopter
OH-6 Cayuse Helicopter

Nation: USA
Manufacturer: McDonnell Douglas
Type: Light Observation Helicopter
Year: first flight 1963
Engine: Allison T63-5A turboshaft, 252.5 shp
Rotor Diameter: 26 ft 4 in
Overall Length: 30 ft 3.75 in
Height: 8 ft 1.5 in
Empty Weight: 1,229 lb
Max Takeoff Weight: 2,700 lb
Max Speed: 150 mph (cruise) at sea level
Range: 380 miles
Crew: 2
Load/Armament: 4 equipped troops or 1,000 lb of stores/cargo

(1963) The Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) (formerly Hughes model 369) OH-6A was designed for use as a military scout during the Vietnam war to meet the U.S. Army's need for an extremely maneuverable light observation helicopter (LOH program). Initially fielded in Vietnam in early 1968, the Hughes OH-6A was used for command and control, observation, target acquisition, and reconnaissance. The Cayuse was organic to division, brigade, and battalion size units. The four-passenger teardrop shaped "Flying egg" (six-passenger with rear seats folded-down) was a small, light, sturdy, maneuverable helicopter, with very low drag.

The OH-6A Cayuse was quite effective when teamed with the AH-1G Cobra attack helicopter as part of what were known as "Pink Teams". The OH-6A "Loach" (for "LOH") would find targets by flying low, "trolling for fire", then marking the target with colored smoke to lead in a Cobra, or "Snake", to attack. The Cayuse could absorb an extensive amount of small arms fire and still bring the crew home safely. The OH-6A could be armed with the M27 armament subsystem, the port (left) side mounting M134 six-barrel 7.62mm "Minigun" or a 40mm grenade launcher on the XM8 armament subsystem. In addition, an M60D 7.62mm machine gun could be mounted in the rear starboard (right) door opening. The OH-6A replaced the Korean era OH-13 Sioux and OH-23 Raven light observation helicopters. The Hughes (model 500M) international military version was sold in ten countries and built under license in Italy and Japan. The Cayuse had a single articulated four-bladed main rotor and a metal two-bladed tail rotor. The OH-6A was powered by a single Allison T63-A-5A 285 shp turboshaft engine, and had a cruising speed of 144 mph (125 knots). Two special operations versions of the OH-6A are the Hughes (model 500C) AH-6 "Little Bird" armed variant, and the MH-6 transport/utility version. These advanced versions feature a quieter five-bladed main rotor, minimal-cavitation tail rotor, and a distinctive T-shaped tail.


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