Back Kaman H-2 "Tomahawk"

Kaman UH-2 "Tomahawk"

Originally developed in response to a 1958 U.S.Navy requirement for a ship-based light utility helicopter, the UH-2 first came to the Army's attention in September 1963. Earlier that year the Army had allocated some $4 million for the development of the world's first purpose-built attack helicopter, and at the same time solicited tenders for a low-cost interim gunship that could be used until the more advanced aircraft became available. Kaman had anticipated the Army's need for a stop-gap attack craft and had developed a low-cost design based on the existing Navy UH-2A "Seasprite". The single interim gunship prototype was handed over to the Army Aviation Test Board for evaluation in October 1963.

The UH-2A interim attack helicopter, which the Army designated H-2 "Tomahawk", differed from the standard Navy Seasprite in several ways. The most obvious difference was in armament, for the Tomahawk was fitted with two chin-mounted turrets, each housing two 7.62mm machine guns. The turrets could be operated independently of one another, or could be 'slaved' together to engage the same target. The aircraft also carried a single door-mounted M-60 machine gun, and was fitted with short stub wings upon which could be carried up to four 7-round pods of 2.75 inch unguided rockets. Other modifications made to the H-2 included the addition of armor plating around the cockpit, engine, transmission, and fuel tanks, and the installation of Army-standard navigation and communications equipment. The Aviation Test Board ultimately judged the Tomahawk to be an extremely capable machine, and in early November 1963 the Army sought and received Congressional authorization to purchase 220 aircraft. However, five days after the 22 November assassination of John Kennedy and the subsequent assumption of the Presidency by Texan Lyndon Johnson the acquisition of the Connecticut-built H-2 was ordered abandoned in favor of further purchases of the Texas-built Bell UH-1 "Iroquois".

  • S.Harding "U.S. Army Aircraft since 1947"

Technical data for UH-2 "Tomahawk"

Crew: 3, engine: 1 x General Electric T58-GE-8 turboshaft, rated at 930kW, main rotor diameter: 13.41m, fuselage length: 11.15m, height: 4.11m, take-off weight: 4060kg, empty weight: 2886kg, max speed: 260km/h, cruising speed: 245km/h, service ceiling: 5300m, range: 1070km

george schmidt, e-mail, 19.08.2010reply

when i was stationed at lakehurst n. j. there was a change to the roter control arms adding guide tubes so that the controls would have the 90 degree gyroscopet reaction this i believe was the idea of one of the men that worked on the helo

Chanel Bags, e-mail, 28.06.2011reply

This articles helps me more.Thanks for your sharing,I will pay more attentions to your articles. Looking forward to your better and better articles.See you next time.

GrumpyOne, e-mail, 30.05.2014reply

I was at Ft Bragg while this ship was being tested and also worked for Kaman in the preceding four year prior to entering the Army. The testing agency there was the Airborne and Electronics Test Board to which I was assigned.

At the time, this Kaman helicopter utilized the servo flap rotor design which maximizes the efficiency of the blades permitting great maneuverability and increased ceiling limits.

A modern day descendent is the SH-2G which remains in service in several foreign nations. Kaman's other noteworthy helicopter was the HH-43B, a twin intermeshing rotor design for the USAF which was in service through the early 1980's and that design lives on as the K-Max medium /heavy continuous lift helicopter that remains in production...

Wayne Mutza, e-mail, 25.08.2021 GrumpyOne

Hello, is this email still good? I'm doing the first book on the Seasprite helicopter and would like to hear of your experience with tests at Ft. Bragg. Spent a year there myself. Thanks. My email is


livinus, e-mail, 11.09.2009reply

as a child, i had always loved the sight of attack helicopters, but i had never had the opportunity of seeing one, i think i love this one, but i know there other ones like the blackhawk which i had seen in movies like 'BLACKHAWK DOWN'

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