6 March 2019

H-34 Choctaw: A Worthy Start

The H-34 Choctaw is a further development of the overall concept used in the development of the well-known Sikorsky H-19 helicopter model. A licence-built version of the H-34 Choctaw will await all pilots as the starting machine of the upcoming French helicopter tree, arriving in War Thunder with the upcoming update 1.87!

Briefly: The French starting helicopter, featuring a wide selection of ordnance types, ranging from bombs over rockets to guided missiles!

History

The H-34 was developed in the early 1950s as the successor to the H-19 Chickasaw. The new helicopter was enlarged and was overall more powerful than its predecessor, yet still retained some of the core design elements, such as the nose-mounted radial engine under the cockpit.

The H-34 performed its maiden flight in March 1954 and was adopted into service shortly afterwards, first with the U.S. Navy in 1955 and then U.S. Army in 1956.

However, the H-34 was also widely exported and built under licence by other nations. France was one of the earliest nations to adopt the H-34, with it entering service in 1956. France initially received a large number of American-built disassembled H-34s, which were then reassembled in France. Later on, the Sud-Aviation company acquired a licence to produce the H-34s locally. In the end, close to 300 French H-34s were built and used by the French forces. The vehicle was actively used during the war in Algeria, marking the first mass use of attack helicopters by the French army.

Of course, the H-34 Choctaw saw service with many more countries around the world and participated in numerous conflicts of the ‘50s and ‘60s. Although the helicopter was being phased out from military service with most operators by the 1970s, the H-34 (or S-58 if the civilian designation is used) is still being used for civilian operations today. In total, over 2,100 H-34s were built when taking into account all modifications of the type.

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In War Thunder, the H-34 will be available as the first helicopter awaiting pilots in the upcoming French helicopter tree, arriving to the game with the release of update 1.87. Similar in design and purpose as the Soviet Mi-4AV, the H-34 offers a good selection of ordnance options and solid performance for an early combat helicopter.

Interesting fact: H-34 transport helicopters, at the initiative of the French Colonel Brunet, were converted into combat helicopters, and received the unofficial nickname "Pirate".

Powered by a Wright R-1820-84 Cyclone radial engine, generating 1525 horsepower, the H-34 is able to reach a respectable top speed of 278 km/h - about on par with the top speed of the Mi-4AV that players already had the chance to familiarize themselves with. While certainly not a speed demon, the mobility provided by the H-34 will still be more than enough to allow pilots to navigate the treacherous battlefield without great difficulty.

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Despite being an early combat helicopter, French engineers made sure to suitably equip the H-34 for almost any combat situation it could have found itself in. As a result, the H-34 can be fitted with various armament loadouts, ranging from small caliber bombs, over a number of unguided rocket types and all the way to guided anti-tank missiles.

Overall, the H-34 will make for a solid introductory vehicle for pilots starting their progress down the new French helicopter tree, thanks to its good mobility and wide selection of secondary armament options.

In the meantime, stay tuned to the news for more information regarding the next major update coming to the game. Until then, clear skies pilots!


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