Inception of the Mohawk
In 1954, the United States Army decided that a requirement needed to be met to build a battlefield surveillance and utility aircraft. Many proposals were sent to the Pentagon to start the process, along with ensuring the Airforce was not already building an aerial platform that could meet these needs. The Army, along with the Marine Corps, then began to collaborate on the project to build a twin engine, two personnel, short takeoff and landing capable airplane. In March, 1957 the Grumman Aircraft Corporation was awarded the contract and began building five aircraft for the Army, designated as the AO-1 and four for the Marines, designated as the OF-1 (Colucci, 1981). In September, 1957, the Navy decided to allocate more money to their fleet resulting in the Marine Corp to pull out of the build process resulting in the Army now owning all nine prototypes. With the Army now the sole proprietor of the contract, they ordered the platform into production in 1959 and designated it the Mohawk with the first service record being in Germany, 1961 and later followed by its infamous role during the Vietnam War (Goebel, 2016).
Intelligence, Security, and Reconnaissance (ISR)
Throughout the Vietnam War, the Mohawk played a vital role in collect intelligence information for battlefield commanders aiding them in battlefield preparation. One of the advantages of the airplane is that it was highly versatile allowing for several different platform variations to accomplish the intelligence gathering requested by ground forces. The three intelligence platforms, which will later be discussed, provided daylight observation and aerial photography, radar observation, and infrared observation. These reconnaissance capa...
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...Safire FLIR turret and a ventral 30mm M230 chain gun from an Apache gunship.” While is does look like the United States Army has seen the last of the Mohawk in our fleet, companies are still trying to upgrade the airframe and push it back into operation. Army fixed-wing assets are always changing and growing and to say that we have seen the last of the Mohawk, might be speaking too soon.
One unnamed Army Ranger from the Vietnam War is quoted as saying “that airplane was underestimated by everyone who never worked with one.” Many lives were lost from the pilots and observers that flew the Mohawk protecting troops and gathering intelligence. Aircraft can never be removed from all tragedy and it can also be said that many lives were saved by the pilots and observers thanks to their dedication to the ground force and their commitment to finding and destroying the enemy.
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