The Sikorsky H-19 Chickasaw was an American utility-minded, multi-role helicopter product of the Cold War period (1947-1991) immediate following the events of World War 2 (1939-1945). The type was produced in some 1,728 examples with operators situated all across the globe. The series recorded a maiden flight on November 10th, 1949 and service introduction followed with the United States Air Force (USAF) on April 16th, 1950. The last American examples, operated by the United States Navy (USN), were retired on February 26th, 1969 after decades of faithful service.
The H-19 series had roots in a private venture initiative by the Sikorsky Company. Its initial purpose was to test in-house developments by the concern and this allowed develop to proceed at a quickened pace without government involvement. The United States military, namely the USAF, became interested in the offering and commissioned for the YH-19 to begin formal testing and evaluations. This developmental model went airborne in November of 1949.
The USAF acquired the helicopter in April of 1950 (the USN followed in August under the designation of "HO4S-1" and the USMC in April of 1951 as the "HRS-1") and pressed its sole example into active service during March of 1951 in the Korean War (1950-1953). A second example was acquired that September. Once in operational service, the H-19 became the United State military's first "true" transport-minded helicopter platform.
The H-19 series was very unique in appearance for its time. The powerplant was situated at the nose, under the cockpit, which gave the helicopter a deep and distinct look. The engine was accessed by a clamshell-type door system over the nose cone. The cockpit seated its crew of two side-by-side with a commanding view overlooking the aircraft. The main rotor was situated over the helicopter as normal with a shaft running through a stem towards the tail set to drive the tail rotor unit (which was situated to face the portside of the aircraft). Behind the engine and behind/under the cockpit was the passenger cabin which could be used to undertake various roles. The undercarriage involved four fixed legs each with a wheel for ground-running.
The H-19 was developed into both civilian and military marketplace models and formed the basis for the H-34 "Choctaw" to follow (detailed elsewhere on this site). Operators eventually ranged from Argentina and Brazil to Venezuela and Yugoslavia.
YH-19 eventually numbered five pre-production units. The H-19A was the same helicopter fitted with an R-1340-57 engine of 600 horsepower and operated by the USAF with about fifty examples being delivered. The SH-19A was the H-19A revised for the Search-and-Rescue (SAR) role. The H-19B followed as an improved H-19A with R-1300-3 engine of 700 horsepower. 264 of these were produced in all. The SH-19B was the H-19B for the SAR role.
The H-19C was the United States Army variant with seventy-two built to the standard. This was followed by the Army's H-19D which was based in the H-19A of the USAF. 301 were built.
The USN took delivery of the H-19 beginning with the HO4S-1 based in the H-19A and ten were acquired. The HO4S-2 was the SAR model with the R-1340 engine of 550 horsepower. Three of this mark were built for the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). The USCG operated the HO4S-2 as the HO4S-2G and seven were delivered to this standard. The Wright R-1300-3 engine of 700 stocked the HO4S-3 models and seventy-nine were produced to the standard. The HO4S-3G was the USCG variant and thirty were acquired.
The HRS-1 was the USMC model and carried the R-1340-57 engine of 600 horsepower. Sixty were built as troop carriers for the service. The HRS-2 followed with slight alterations to the equipment scheme and 101 were produced. The HRS-3 was another USMC model and operated with the R-1300-3 series engine of 700 horsepower. 105 were built or converted (some from existing HRS-2 models). The HRS-4 was a proposed HRS-3 variant carried the R-1820 radial engine of 1,025 horsepower but not followed through on.
As with other American aircraft, the H-19 helicopter series was entirely redesignated after the reformation of 1962. H-19A became the UH-19A, the H-19B the UH-19B, and so on. The S-55 was its commercial market designation and encompassed an A-, B, C-, T-, and QT-model. Commercial conversions were also available creating a whole other line of designations for the family.
In British military service (with production from Westland), the helicopter was known as "Whirlwind" and designated across several marks for various British services - WS-55, HAR, HAS, HCC and so on, each used to cover such roles as SAR, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), general transport, VIP transport etc... These helicopters found operators all their own in Austria, Brazil, Brunei, France, Ghana, Iran, Italy, Kuwait, Nigeria, Qatar, and Yugoslavia.
The H-19 was used extensively in the fighting of the Korean War as an unarmed troop and cargo transport where its balance, reliability, and operational capabilities were proven qualities. The USMC were very active with the type throughout the conflict. The USAF operated their fleet in the SAR role and as MEDEVAC platforms. The series saw some limited service in the early American involvement of the Vietnam War 1955-1975) as well until succeeded by the aforementioned H-34 line.
In the Algerian war of Independence (1954-1962), French forces operated the H-19 in both the transport and gunship roles where the type excelled for its ability to hover, loiter and reach out-of-the-way places. The series was also used by France in Indochina for a time - though mainly in the MEDEVAC role.
Overseas production of the H-19 emerged from Westland of Britain, SNCASE of France, and Mitsubishi of Japan.
Argentina; Austria; Belgium; Canada; Chile; China; Colombia; Denmark; Dominican Republic; France; Germany; Greece; Guatemala; Haiti; Honduras; Israel; Italy; Japan; Kuwait; Netherlands; Nicaragua; Pakistan; Philippines; Portugal; South Korea; Vietnam; Spain; Thailand; United Kingdom; Uruguay; Venezuela; United States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Ground Attack (Bombing, Strafing)
Ability to conduct aerial bombing of ground targets by way of (but not limited to) guns, bombs, missiles, rockets, and the like.
✓Close-Air Support (CAS)
Developed to operate in close proximity to active ground elements by way of a broad array of air-to-ground ordnance and munitions options.
✓Special-Mission: Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
Equipped to search, track, and engage enemy underwater elements by way of specialized onboard equipment and weapons.
✓Special-Mission: MEDical EVACuation (MEDEVAC)
Extraction of wounded combat or civilian elements by way of specialized onboard equipment and available internal volume or external carrying capability.
✓Special-Mission: Search & Rescue (SAR)
Ability to locate and extract personnel from areas of potential harm or peril (i.e. downed airmen in the sea).
✓Maritime / Navy
Land-based or shipborne capability for operating over-water in various maritime-related roles while supported by allied naval surface elements.
General transport functionality to move supplies/cargo or personnel (including wounded and VIP) over range.
Used in roles serving the commercial aviation market, ferrying both passengers and goods over range.
Used in the Very-Important-Person (VIP) passenger transport role, typically with above-average amenities and luxuries as standard.
Serving Special Forces / Special Operations elements and missions.
62.7 ft (19.10 m)
53.0 ft (16.16 m)
13.4 ft (4.07 m)
4,799 lb (2,177 kg)
7,200 lb (3,266 kg)
+2,401 lb (+1,089 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Sikorsky H-19 Chickasaw production variant)
1 x Pratt & Whitney R-1340-57 radial engine delivering 600hp and driving a three-blade main rotor and two-blade tail rotor.
Usually none but optional as need dictates. Typically medium machine guns / heavy machine guns and rocket pods.
(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
YH-19 - Evaluation Models; 5 such examples produced.
H-19A - 50 examples produced; USAF version based on the YH-19 evaluation model; fitted with R-1340-57 powerplant of 600 horsepower; became the UH-19A model with redesignation in 1962.
SH-19A - Air-Sea Rescue Variant of H-19A model; redesignated to HH-19A in 1962.
H-19B - Fitted with R-1300-3 powerplant of 700 horsepower; 264 examples produced; redesignated to UH-19B in 1962.
SH-19B - Air-Sea Rescue Variant of H-19B model; redesignated to HH-19B in 1962.
H-19C - US Army Version of H-19A model; 72 examples produced; redesignated to UH-19C in 1962.
H-19D - US Army Version of H19B model; 301 examples produced; redesignated to UH-19D in 1962.
HO4S-1 - US Navy Version of H-18A model; 10 examples produced.
H04S-2 - Proposed US Coast Guard Version
H04S-3 - Joint US/Canadian use; became the UH-19F and H04S-3 designations for US/Canada respectively; fitted with R-1300-3 700 horsepower engine.
HO4S-3G - US Coast Guard Version based on the HO4S-3 model; 30 examples produced; redesignated to HH-19G in 1962.
HRS-1 - USMC version based on the HO4S; 60 examples produced; accommodation for up to 8 combat ready personnel.
HRS-2 - Based on the HRS-1 model series with upgrades; 101 examples produced.
HRS-3 - 105 examples produced along with conversions from HRS-2 models; new production models based on HRS-2 models; fitted with R-1300-3 powerplant of 700 horsepower; redesignated to CH-19E in 1962.
HRS-4 - Proposed model based on the HRS-3; fitted with R-1820 radial engine of 1,025 horsepower.
UH-19A - 1962 redesignation of H-19A model
HH-19A - 1962 redesignation of SH-19A model
UH-19B - 1962 redesignation of H-19B model
HH-19B - 1962 redesignation of SH-19B model
CH-19E - 1962 redesignation of HRS-3 model
UH-19F - 1962 redesignation of HO4S-3 model
HH-19G - 1962 redesignation of HO4S-3G model
S-55 - Commercial Version; fitted with R-1340 engine of 600 horsepower.
S-55A - Commercial Version; fitted with R-1300-3 engine of 800 horsepower.
S-55C - Commercial Version; based on the S-55A model; fitted with R-1340 engine of 600 horsepower.
S-55T - Commercial Version; Fitted with Garrett-AIRResearch TSE331-3U-303 engine of 650 horsepower.
S-55QT - Commercial Touring Conversion Model
OHA-S-55 Heli-Camper - Commercial Conversion for promotional use.
OHA-S-55 Nite-Writer - Commercial Conversion for inflight advertising.
OHA-S-55 Bearcat - Commercial Conversion Model for agricultural use.
OHA-S-55 Heavy Lift - Commercial Conversion Model with heavy-duty crane system.
QS-55 Aggressors - Conversion models used as flying targets.
OHA-AT-55 Defender - Armed Military Model
Whirlwind HAR21 - Royal Navy Model based on the HRS-2 model.
Whirlwind HAS22 - Royal Navy Model based on H04S-3 model.
(Cockpit image represents the Sikorsky H-19 Chickasaw production model)
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.
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