Ideas for a helicopter date back to Leonardo da Vinci: he drew a design for a copter-like vehicle 400 years before the vehicle we now know as a helicopter was invented.
While Da Vinci’s design is pretty different from the helicopters used today, it just goes to show how the idea and use of helicopters is nothing new. In fact, the US Military because using helicopters in World War II, and have been using them ever since.
Let’s go over 5 of the most famous historical military helicopters used by the American military.
1. The Sikorsky H-18
Sikorsky is one of the top names in helicopters for a reason. This H-18 model first made for the military in the late 1940s was the first helicopter in the American military to feature rotor blades made of solid metal.
While it was mainly used by the Navy and the Coast Guard, not as much in the Air Force or the Army, it’s still an interesting helicopter that’s a part of military history in America.
2. Sikorsky CH-37 Mojave
The Sikorsky CH-36 Mojave was used beginning in 1956 until the late 1960s before it was essentially replaced by the Boeing CH-47 Chinook.
The CH-37 Mojave was mostly used to transport supplies and personnel into active zones. At the time of its introduction into the military, it was known as the largest helicopter in existence. It was also the first Sikorsky helicopter to run with twin-engines.
It was also one of the last historical army helicopters to run with piston engines. These would later be replaced with lighter, more efficient gas-turbine engines.
3. Bell H-13 Sioux
The Bell H-13 Sioux helicopters are probably the most well-known historical helicopters on this list because of their appearance in the television show M*A*S*H.
These vehicles were used as observation helicopters. They were mostly used during the Vietnam war.
Their life in the military was shortlived, as they were replaced by 1966. However, they’ve become quite famous because of their appearance in M*A*S*H, which is funny considering they were far from the most popular helicopter used by the military.
4. Bell UH-1 Iroquois
Here we have another Bell model. While this is a historic vehicle, they’re still used by the military today.
These helicopters are versatile and used for a number of different missions including:
- Cargo transport
- Air assault
- Search and rescue
- Ground assault missions
Because of its long-term use in the military as well as its association with the Vietnam War, this is a widely recognized helicopter by civilians, military, and helicopter buffs alike.
5. Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk
You can’t have an article on helicopters without mentioning a Black Hawk. This helicopter was initially created in 1974 and was used to transport 12 equipped soldiers into battle.
The UH-60 began to be used in 1976, and it has been continuously improved upon and upgraded with each year. Currently, over 2000 Black Hawk helicopters are in use by the US military.
5 Historical Military Helicopters: Wrapping Up
The interesting thing about historical military helicopters is that many are still in use today. While they aren’t identical to the first models used, the general backbone and feel of the helicopters still exist alongside the modern technological advancements.