The Cayuse was developed during the early 60s to replace the aging Bell H-13 Sioux that had been successfully used since the Korean conflict. The aircraft first flew in 1963 and entered service with the US Army in 1966.
In 1964 a change in US doctrine transferred all fixed wing aircraft to the Airforce.
The Cayuse was used to replace the Cessna Bird Dog in observation and fire control roles. Beyond that the Cayuse typically operated with other armed helicopters in the target identification role.
The Cayuse was frequently used for Hunter-Killer operations. The Cayuse would fly low and slow over suspected enemy positions in order to prompt fire from the enemy. The position would be marked with smoke grenades allowing the accompanying “killers” to engage the targets.
These tactics were not conducive to a long life and of 1422 produced, 964 were lost due to enemy action.
Italeri 1/72 kit completed by Steve Pulbrook in 2020.