*** Shoe Box Photos ***


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Sikorsky Model S-58/H-34 "Choctaw"

The 1952 evaluation of the Sikorsky S-55 had the military yearning for increased capacity,speed and operating range. Retaining a similar airframe and up front engine placement, the Sikorsky S-58 had a larger engine and extended fuselage increasing its cargo capacity. Its first flight took place in March of 1954. Beginning in 1955, hundreds were manufactured for the U.S. Marines and Army and were known as the "Choctaw." Increasing the engine size from a 800 hp to a 1,350 hp piston engine increased it maximum air speed to 130 mph, extended its operating range to 390 miles and its carrying capacity from (10) to (16) troops or (8) medical stretchers.
Despite their limited armament and protective armor, the "ChocTaw's" were heavily utilized during the early phases of the Vietnam War as troop transports and assault helicopters Armament often consisted of a tripod mounted .30 caliber or .50 caliber machine gun and side mounted rocket pod. Although not in the same class as the "Sea King" it was heavily utilized by the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard in inter-ship transport of personnel, cargo, anti-submarine detection or search and rescue duties. The maritime version of the S-58, was referred to as the "Sea Bat", it was outfitted with navigation Doppler radar, automatic stabilization and hovering control.


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Christy Butler **** www.shoeboxphotos.net **** **** butts@bcn.net