HUGHES OH-6 CAYUSE / MODEL 500

OH-6 / MODEL 500 SERVICE

Manufacturer: Hughes Tool Co., Aircraft Division, Culver City, California, USA
(In 1972, became Hughes Helicopter Division, Summa Corp.)
(In 1981, became Hughes Helicopters Inc., Hughes Corp.)
(In 1984, became McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Co.,
McDonnell Douglas Corp., Mesa, Arizona, USA)
(In 1997, became Boeing Helicopter Co., The Boeing Co.)
(In 1999, became MD Helicopters Inc.)
Models: Model 369; 500 (Renamed Model MD 500 in 1984)
Designations: H-6; HO-6
Names: Cayuse, Little Bird
First official flight: (YOH-6A) 27/02/1963
(Model 500) 13/09/1966
Factory production period: 1962 - present
Primary service period: 1966 - present
Last official flight: Still in service

OH-6 / MODEL 500 VARIANTS

OH-6 Cayuse

1963 Model 369 YOH-6A 10  
1965 Model 369A OH-6A 1438 Total: 1448

Model 500

1966 Model 369 Model 500 Series 3462 Total: 3462

A/MH-6 Little Bird

1981 Model 369D EH-6E 3  
1981 Model 369D MH-6E 15  
1984 Model MD 500E AH-6F 9  
1984 Model MD 530E AH-6G 4  
1988 Model MD 530F MH-6H 3  
1989 Model MD 530F AH-6J 20  
1991 Model MD 530F MH-6J 1  
? Model MD 540F AH-6M 0  
? Model MD 540F MH-6M 4 Total: 0059

 

Grand Total : 4969

OH-6 / MODEL 500 PRODUCTION

OH-6 Cayuse

YOH-6A
Prototype, single-engined, 4-bladed rotor,
observation helicopter for US Army. 4 civil
airframes for testing also in army colors.
Original designation was YHO-6.
Produced 1962 - 1964

Hughes Culver City, California (HU)

Static Test Airframe 0001    
N9696F / N9699F (civil reg.)
- N9698F to s/n: 62-12624.
- N9699F to s/n: 62-4216.
0002 / 0005    
62-4211 / 62-4215
- 62-4211 to USAF.
0001 / 0005 10 Total: 0010
62-4212, 62-4216 to US Navy.

OH-6A
As YOH-6A, minor changes. 7 later
rebuilt (new c/n: 1072 / 1078) with
4 to Colombia. 2 to Nicaragua as
511, 512. 1 delivery unknown.
Produced 1965 - 1970

Hughes Culver City, California (HU)

65-12916 / 65-13003 0001 / 0088    
66-7775 / 66-7942 0089 / 0256    
66-14376 / 66-14419 0257 / 0300    
66-17750 / 66-17833 0301 / 0384    
67-16000 / 67-16686 0385 / 1071    
68-17140 / 68-17369 1100 / 1329    
69-15960 / 69-16075 1330 / 1445 1417  
Additional Deliveries
- 2 to US Army as 66-17905, 66-17918.
- 6 to Dominican Republic as 3011 / 3016.
- 5 to Nicaragua as 513 / 517.
- 8 deliveries unknown.
1079 / 1099 21 Total: 1438
4 (69-16076 / 69-16079) additional airframes cancelled.

OH-6B - Proposed OH-6A development, cancelled.
               Designation later used for OH-6A rebuilds in 1988.

Model 500

Model 500 Series
As OH-6A, civil / military export version.
McDonnell Douglas shifted production
to Mesa, Arizona in 1984.
Produced 1966 - present

Hughes Culver City, California

Model 369H (Model 500)
1966, initial civil version. Most
used as demonstrators.
civil reg. 0001 / 0005 5  
Model 369HM (Model 500M)
1968, Hughes Military version for
export. First 4 as demonstrators.
civil reg. 0001 / 0004    
mil reg. 0005M / 0272M 272  
Model 369HS (Model 500C)
1968, Hughes Standard, engine upgrade.
civil / mil reg. 0001S / 0887S 887  
Model 369HE (Model 500C)
1969, Hughes Executive version.
civil reg. 0101E / 0110E    
civil reg. 0201E / 0215E 25  
Model 369D (Model 500D)
1975, engine upgrade, 5-bladed rotor,
T-tail. Military version is Model 500MD.
civil / mil reg. 0001D / 1381D 1381  
- 2 (N501DH, N58369) as 500MD demonstrators.
- 1 (N8337F) as 5
00MD/MMS-TOW prototype,
then 1984 to
500MG Defender II (N530MG).
- Military export version, named the
Defender,
includes the 1976
500MD Scout Defender,
1977
500MD/TOW, 1979 500MD/ASW,
1985
500MD/MMS-TOW and 500MD
Defender II - major deliveries to Iraq (5001 /
5030); Israel (201 / 226, 242, 254, 282, 299);
Kenya (501 / 532); Morocco and Taiwan.
- 160 (c/n: 1222D / 1381D) built in South Korea.
Model 369E (Model 500E, MD 500E)
1982, as 369D, redesigned nose.
civil / mil reg. 0001E / 0624E 624  
- Military versions are MD 500MG and
MD 520MG Defender - 6 to Colombia,
USAF s/n: 86-0382 / 86-0387; other
deliveries to Chile, Mexico and The
Philippines.
Model 369F, 369FF (Model 530F, MD 530F Lifter)
1982, as 369E, engine upgrade. 369FF
with upgraded drive system. 19 369E
upgraded with new c/n: 0600FF / 0604FF,
0700FF / 0713FF.
civil / mil reg. 0001F or FF / 0268F or FF 268 Total: 3462
- Military version is MD 530MG Defender.
- Some built as
Nightfox and Paramilitary
for law enforcement roles etc.


A civil Hughes 500C (Model 369HS), ZK-HLY (ex-N9134F), the design
of which is very similar to the military OH-6A Cayuse variant.
Ashburton Aviation Museum, New Zealand, 2012.

License built in Argentina by Representaciones Aero Commerciales Argentinas
SA (RACA) from 1969; Italy by Breda-Nardi Costruzioni Aeronautiche SpA from
1969 as the NH-500; Japan by Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. from 1969 as the
OH-6J (JGSDF: 31001 / 31117, JMSDF: 8761 / 8763), OH-6D (JGSDF: 31121 /
31313, JMSDF: 8764 / 8777) plus imported OH-6DA (JMSDF: 8778 / 8782) and
South Korea by Korean Airlines Co. Ltd. from 1976 as the 520MK Black Tiger.

Later developed as the MDHI NOTAR MD 520N and MD 600N.

A/MH-6 Little Bird

EH-6E
As Model 500MD, ELINT version
for US Army Special Forces.
Produced

Hughes Culver City, California (HU)

81-23654 / 81-23656 0926D, ?, ? 3 Total: 0003

MH-6E
As Model 500MD, multi-mission
version for US Army Special Forces.
Produced

Hughes Culver City, California (HU)

81-23629 / 81-23637 ?    
81-23648 / 81-23653 ? 15 Total: 0015

AH-6F
As Model 500E, attack version
for US Army Special Forces.
Produced

McDonnell Douglas Mesa, Arizona

84-24319
- Originally as AH-6C.
0937D    
84-24677, 84-24681 0124E, 0132E    
84-24683, 84-24684 0138E, 0139E    
85-25346 / 85-25348 0162E / 0164E    
86-0141
- For USAF evaluation.
? 9 Total: 0009

AH-6G
As Model 530MG, attack version
for US Army Special Forces.
Produced

McDonnell Douglas Mesa, Arizona

84-24678 / 84-24680 0125E, 0130E, 0131E    
84-24682 0137E 4 Total: 0004

MH-6H
As AH-6G, multi-mission version
for US Army Special Forces.
Produced

McDonnell Douglas Mesa, Arizona

88-25349, 88-25350 ?    
90-25361 ? 3 Total: 0003

AH-6J Little Bird Guns
As AH-6G, Mission Enhanced Little
Bird (MELB) avionics upgrade. Most
previous AH-6 variants upgraded to
this standard.
Produced

McDonnell Douglas Mesa, Arizona

89-25351 / 89-25356 ?    
90-25357 / 90-25360 ?    
90-25362, 90-25363 0078FF, ?    
91-25364, 91-25365 ?    
95-25367 / 95-25372 ? 20 Total: 0020

MH-6J
As AH-6J, multi-mission version.
Most previous MH-6 variants
upgraded to this standard.
Produced

McDonnell Douglas Mesa, Arizona

91-25366 ? 1 Total: 0001

AH-6M
As AH-6J, Mission Enhanced Little
Bird (MELB) engine / avionics upgrade,
6-bladed rotor. Most previous AH-6J
upgraded to this standard.
Produced

MDHI Mesa, Arizona

? ? 0 Total: 0000

MH-6M
As AH-6M, multi-mission version.
Most previous MH-6J upgraded to
this standard.
Produced

MDHI Mesa, Arizona

98-25374 / 98-25376 ?    
04-25378 ? 4 Total: 0004

 

Grand Total: 4969

OH-6 / MODEL 500 CONVERSIONS

US Army

OH-6A HHC 1 OH-6A(68-17230), 1982, prototype for Higher-Harmonic-Control 
vibration reduction.
OH-6A NOTAR 1 OH-6A(65-12917), 1981, prototype NO-TAil-Rotor (NOTAR) conversion.
NOH-6A 1 "The Quiet One"
OH-6A(65-12968), 1969, prototype for noise reduction tests, modified
5-bladed rotor, muffled engine area and exhaust.
EH-6B 4 OH-6A, 1982, Special Forces ELINT conversions, engine / IR
suppression upgrade.
MH-6B 26 24 OH-6A / 2 EH-6B, 1980, Special Forces multi-mission conversions,
engine / avionics / weapons upgrade.
OH-6B 8 OH-6A, 1988, rebuilds with engine / avionics upgrade for ANG service.
Program cancelled after 8 of 250 converted.
OH-6C 5 2 OH-6A / 3 500C, 1971, prototype for Advanced Scout Program with engine
upgrade, 5-bladed rotor, T-tail, led to civil Model 500D. Prototype was
OH-6A s/n: 65-12951.
AH-6C 18 11 OH-6A / 1 EH-6B / 5 MH-6B, 1980, armed, Special Forces conversions
with OH-6C upgrades. Plus 1 new built, s/n: 84-24319.
MH-6C 3 MH-6B, 1981, OH-6C upgrades for Special Forces multi-missions.
OH-6D 1 Super Cayuse
Civil Model 500D, 1981, prototype for major upgrade program but Bell
OH-58D selected instead, engine upgrade, mast-mounted-sight. Civil
reg.: N8336F. Designation later used for JGSDF OH-6D.
NOH-6P 4 2 OH-6A / 1 OH-6C(65-12951) as prototype, 1971-1972, conversion based
on "Quiet One" prototype for counter-insurgency duties. Operated by Air
America Inc. with civil reg.: N351X (68-17297), N352X (68-17288). Also
designated as Model 500P. 1 OH-6A (66-17825) also later upgraded.

US Navy

TH-6B 6 OH-6B, 1991-2009, trainers for US Navy Test Pilots School. US Army
s/n retained as non-standard 6-digit codes: 652967, 687333, 696040,
696041, 696044, 696061.

FOREIGN MILITARY / CIVILIAN SERVICE
 - Military Model 500 helicopters in service with many air forces worldwide
   in the observation, light attack and multi-mission roles.
 - Many ex-OH-6A used by Government agencies such as US Border Patrol,
   FBI and NASA for various tests.
 - Many ex-OH-6A helicopters sold on the civil market.
 - MDHI Inc. developing the MD 540F with major upgrades and 6-bladed rotor,
   military versions are the A/MH-6M and MD 540MG.
 - Boeing Rotocraft Systems developing the Unmanned Little Bird (ULB),
   A/MH-6X, AH-6S Phoenix, AH-6i (N106HX) and H-6U.


This Hughes 369D (109-0596D), is something of a hybrid. It was built as a military
Model 500D for the Mexican Navy, s/n: HMR-402, before going into civil service
in New Zealand as ZK-HOT upgraded with Model 369E nose and tail fins.
Wanaka Airport, New Zealand, 2011.

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