Posted 5 years ago
I found this photo a while ago! The matting is in bad shape, the photo however is in excellent condition!
Grumman AO-1 Mohawk
Unique in its ungainly appearance the Mohawk was the U.S. Army's “eye-in-the-sky” for more than twenty five years. Grumman built the Mohawk under the direction of the U.S. Navy which had multi-service responsibility to develop a battlefield reconnaissance plane. Budgetary constraints caused the Marines to drop the project so the Navy-Grumman development resulted in an Army contract that eventually produced 380 aircraft.
The AO-1 (later redesignated OV-1) first flown in 1960 was capable of rough field operation and short field take-off. The Mohawk has the distinction of being the U.S. Army's first turboprop aircraft and the first Army plane to use the Martin-Baker ejection seat for side-by-side pilot and observer. The cockpit is armored with .25 inch aluminum armor plate and 1 inch bullet resistant glass. The “bug-eyed” appearance gives the crew a direct downward view of the ground. The unusual tripletail arrangement was the result of early problems with a T-tail design.
The role of the Mohawk in Vietnam (as well as Europe and Korea) was that of battlefield reconnaissance. The OV-1A was used for visual photography recon and had night capability with special flare canisters. The OV-1B was the most common Mohawk used during the Vietnam conflict and was equipped with SLAR (side-looking radar). SLAR could scan the terrain on both sides of the flight path and penetrate foliage coverage at night or in bad weather. The image was captured on film, which gave a split view image of the fixed terrain features and the other split showed moving targets. The SLAR was housed in an 18 foot fiberglass “canoe” slung under the belly of the Mohawk. The OV-1C was used for infrared imaging. In 1972 most of the -1B and -1C models were returned to Grumman for remanufacture to OV-1D standards. Some OV-1Ds were subsequently modified to RV-1D standards for electronic surveillance (ELINT) by removal of the SLAR pod and installation of a sophisticated electronics package.
In 1962 the Mohawk went into service with special Army Aviation units testing an “armed surveillance” role. The intent was for the Mohawk to provide cover for troop carrying helicopters and attack ground targets of opportunity. In this role the OV-1 carried various combinations of bombs, rockets and .50 cal machine guns in specialized pods. Although well suited for this role, the mission sparked an inter-service conflict with the USAF. Due to the terms of a joint forces agreement in 1965, which stated that Army fixed wing aircraft must be unarmed, the Mohawks were disarmed and the ground attack mission was turned over to the Air Force. The Army for ground attack employed armed helicopters and the Mohawk was limited to battlefield reconnaissance.
As reconnaissance technology evolved during the Cold War the Mohawk mission was eventually taken over by satellite imagery and the J-Stars aircraft. Following retirement from its role with the Army, several OV-1Ds were modified for special uses by the Drug Enforcement Agency, U.S. Geological Survey (for mapping operations), NASA and the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School.
The Cavanaugh Flight Museum's Mohawk was built by Grumman in 1963 as an SLAR carrying OV-1B. It served in Germany for five years with the 122nd Aviation Battalion in Hanau in support of the 3rd Armored Division. In 1972 it was returned to Grumman for remanufacture to OV-1D / RV-1D standards. The paint scheme is representative of early Vietnam era Mohawks.