Staff Writer (Updated: 6/15/2016):
Visually, the H-19 was of a stout appearance. The flight deck sat high above the design just under and forward of the main rotor mast. The crew cabin area was on a lower floor with easy access to ground level through sliding side doors. Passenger accommodation in the cabin amounted to 12 combat ready troops or 8 medical litters. Though the system was generally unarmed, several attempts at an armed version were made, principally by the French though the platform was found to be too underpowered to be of much use as an attack helicopter.
First flight of the series took place on November 10, 1949 with deliveries beginning a year later. A series of major variants appeared throughout her production life that generally revolved around different powerplants and custom conversions. There were also naval variants made available to the US Navy and the Royal Navy.
The H-19 in all forms was produced in other countries under license by Mitsubishi (Japan), Westland (UK) and Sud-Est (France). Operators of the system included a list of countries numbering over 30 (see operators section for the complete listing). In US service, the Chickasaw was later replaced by the H-34 Chocktaw, another Sikorsky design, by the time of the Vietnam conflict (though by this time the H-19 was still being operationally used in some limited numbers). In fact, this Sikorsky follow-up product was a further development of this very H-19 system.