Grumman OV-1 Mohawk - United States, 1959
Detailing the development and operational history of the Grumman OV-1 Mohawk Battlefield Surveillance Aircraft.
Entry last updated on 1/19/2017; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The Grumman OV-1 Mohawk series saw extensive action in the Vietnam War.
Development of the OV-1 Mohawk platform stemmed from a joint requirement fielded by both the United States Army and the United States Marine Corps for a "battlefield surveillance aircraft" displaying rugged and versatile qualities on an ever-changing front. Grumman's the twin engine G-134 model proved heartily enough with both branches of service proceeding on the elected design. Though the United States Marine Corps would eventually pull out of the program, the US Army continued on and would field the system to good effect from the Vietnam War all the way through to Operation Desert Storm. The strengths of the system lay in its STOL (Short Take-Off and Landing) performance and ability to carry an array of sophisticated sensors and camera equipment.
The Mohawk fielded two Lycoming turboprop engines, each developing 1,005 horsepower and mounted on a midset-wing monoplane assembly. A highly-identifiable feature of the series was the three-fin tail structure. A crew of two sat side-by-side in an armored cockpit complete with bullet-proof glass. The cockpit offered up outstanding visibility forward, side, up and even downwards to some extent thanks in part to the bulging side windows. Armament was not standard in traditional models though the system was prepared to mount rocket and gun pods as needed on the two underwing hardpoints (one per wing).
The G-134 evolved into nine evaluation models known as the YAO-1 and, later, the YOV-1 series. Initial production models were ordered for the US Army as the OV-1A and centered around day and night visual reconnaissance centering on conventional camera systems. The OV-1B followed soon after, offering up a different suite of radar in the SLAR (Side-Looking Airborne Radar) which were mounted in an notieceable large under-fuselage pod, though this platform was fielded without the optical cameras of the preceding model. The similar OV-1C was next up, fitted with an AAS-24 infrared surveillance system while the definitive OV-1 proved to be the OV-1D featuring improved engine specifications, a side-loading bay door for minimal cargo and additional sensors found in other previous individual models. Previous "B" and "C" models were later brought up to this ultimate standard. Deliveries of some 375 Mohawks continued from 1961 through 1970.