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Sikorsky CH-37 Mojave

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Sikorsky CH-37 Mojave
CH-37 Mojave attempting to lift a crashed Piasecki H-21.
Type Cargo helicopter
Manufacturer Sikorsky Aircraft
Maiden flight 1953
Introduced July 1956
Retired Late 1960s
Primary users United States Army
United States Marine Corps
Number built 154

The Sikorsky S-56, called the H-37 Mojave by the United States Army and HR2S by the United States Marine Corps (CH-37 under the 1962 United States Tri-Service aircraft designation system), was a large heavy-lift helicopter by the standards of the 1950s.


The S-56 came into being as an assault transport for the United States Marine Corps (USMC), with a capacity of 26 fully-equipped troops; the order was placed in 1951, the first prototype flew in 1953, and production deliveries of the HR2S began in July 1956 to the Marine Corps' HMX-1, sixty aircraft in total being produced.

The United States Army evaluated the prototype in 1954 and ordered 94 examples as the CH-37A, the first being delivered also in summer 1956. All Marine and Army examples were delivered by mid-1960. Army examples were all upgraded to CH-37B status in the early 1960s, being given Lear auto-stabilization equipment and the ability to load and unload while hovering. In the 1962 unification of United States military aircraft designations, USMC examples became CH-37C.

At the time of delivery, the CH-37 was the largest helicopter in the Western world, and it was Sikorsky's first twin-engined helicopter. Two Pratt & Whitney Double Wasps were mounted in outboard pods that also contained the retractable landing gear. This left the fuselage free for cargo, which could be loaded and unloaded through large clamshell doors in the nose. The single main rotor was five-bladed, and designed to function with one blade shot away in combat.

The CH-37 was one of the last heavy helicopters to use piston engines, which were larger, heavier and less powerful than the turboshafts subsequently employed. This accounted for the type's fairly short service life, all being withdrawn from service by the late 1960s, replaced in Army service by the distantly-related CH-54 Tarhe.

Four CH-37Bs were deployed to Vietnam in 1963 to assist in the recovery of downed United States aircraft. They were very successful at this role, recovering over $7.5 million dollars' worth of equipment, some of which was recovered from behind enemy lines.


File:HR2S Marines debarking NAN11-57.jpg
HR2S-1 of the USMC in 1956
File:HR2S-1W NAN3-57 1-57.jpg
HR2S-1W early warning helicopter
Prototype Assault Transport for the US Marine Corps, powered by two 1900hp R-2800-54 engines, four built.
Production model with modified engine nacelles, twin mainwheels and dorsal fin, redesignated CH-37C in 1962, 55 built (order for additional 36 cancelled).
Airborne early warning aircraft for the US Navy, two built.
One HR2S-1 helicopter evaluated by the US Army.
H-37A Mojave
Military transport version of the HR2S for the US Army, changes included dorsal fin and modified rotor head fairing, redesignated CH-37A in 1962, 94 built.
H-37B Mojave
All but four of the H-37As were modified with a re-designed cargo door, automatic stabilisation equipment and crashproof fuel cells, Later redesignated CH-37B.
H-37A redesignated in 1962.
H-37B redesignated in 1962.
HR2S-1 redesignated in 1962.


The S-60 was prototype "sky-crane" developed from the S-56 in 1958. The S-60 was equipped with an autopilot for stable hover, and featured a skeletal fuselage with a crew cockpit; the copilot could swivel his seat to face both fore and aft, and control it from either position. The skeletal nature of the helicopter allowed it to carry customizable, underslung 'modules' - nearly 100 troops, a medical outpost, a radar structure, etc. Its development led to the larger, turbine-engined CH-54 Tarhe military helicopter, and its civil S-64 Skycrane variant.

Other derivatives

Westland Aircraft, a manufacturer of license-built Sikorsky designs used the S-56 physics and the rotor and gearbox as the basis for their Westland Westminster. The Westminster had a tubular frame and used the Napier Eland turboshaft for power. It would have been clad for the passenger role (50 troops) or been left open-framed as a cargo aircraft (4 jeeps or equivalent). The Westminster project was terminated in favour of the Rotodyne design that had been acquired from Fairey Aviation.

Specifications (CH-37 Mojave)

General characteristics


See also

Related development

Related lists

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

Template:Sikorsky Aircraft Template:USAF helicopters Template:USN helicopters

de:Sikorsky S-56

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Sikorsky CH-37 Mojave".