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.