Hughes designed the OH-6 in response to a 1963 U.S. Army request for a Light Observation Helicopter (LOH). This acronym eventually resulted in the OH-6’s popular nickname “Loach.” Over a dozen designs were submitted to the Army and the three finalists from Bell, Fairchild, and Hughes competed head-to-head for the contract. The Hughes design was selected in 1965 and was given a contract for over 1300 helicopters. The OH-6 proved to be a very effective scout and light attack helicopter in Vietnam although the fact that they flew at low altitudes and relatively slowly resulted in high losses and heavy casualties. Upgraded versions of the OH-6 continue to serve with the U.S. Army’s Special Forces. The civilian version of the Cayuse, the MD-500, and retired military helicopters are very popular with civilian pilots and law enforcement with large numbers of them continuing in production and flying.
B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, Vietnam, 1970
Pima Air & Space Museum