The United States Army Air Service

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The United States Army began its aviation heritage in the mid 1920’s as the United States Army Air Service later turning into the United States Army Air Force. It was the aviation fighting force for the Army until 1947 when the United States Air Force was created and the Army was no longer legally allowed to conduct missions in the same manner as it did in World War II (WWII). It was in WWII that the Army saw the potential of Vertical Lift, however it was too late to make any effect on the war. The helicopter saw its first combat in the mountains and valleys of Korea. It was here that the Army was able see a significant change in combat due to this new piece of technology. U.S. Commanders were able to get real time updates to the…show more content…
However with the success came shortcomings, simply bolting on weapons to the existing aircraft was effective but proved to limit these new gunships airspeed and maneuverability. The upgraded UH-1s had sufficient firepower but lacked the airspeed to keep up with the aircraft that they were supporting and once engaged they had to remain oriented on the target to remain effective. This problem sparked the attention of the engineers at Bell Helicopter who in 1962 began to design an entirely new aircraft. Their work produced the D255 which was at the infancy stage of development and just a mock up. Later the engineers produced a flying test bed called the model 207 or the OH-13X. The Army was impressed with the idea of an all new dedicated attack helicopter and initiated the competition to create the Advanced Aerial Fire Support System (AAFSS). In 1964 three companies competed for the contract of the future production of the AAFSS. Bell Helicopter submitted the D209 utilizing a large amount of common products to the UH-1 series of helicopter including the engine and rotor assembly. Sikorsky Helicopter submitted the S-66 and Lockheed submitted the CL-840. Both of the competing helicopters were equipped with pusher propellers and promised high speed and maneuverability making it difficult for the Bell Helicopter company to compete on paper therefore eliminating them from the race early on. Lockheed was selected the winner of the contest and
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