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on 21 June 1969, LtCol. T.F. Miller, the HML-167 Commanding Officer, dropped the first helicopter bomb. This was accomplished using the Helicopter Trap Weapon.
I was the crewchief. who was the copilot & gunner??
I got to talk with Col Miller at the Ft Worth Reunion a figured out I was not on that Hop but on a later one
Does this count as a helicopter bomb? A frag with the pin pulled, placed in a C-rat can, then dropped so that when it hits the ground the grenade pops out, the spoon flies off, and then BOOM!
Probably done before me in '67.
Originally posted by Ed Egan
Probably done before me in '67.
And many times afterwards :D
During Oct '67, I flew HUEY's to NOTS, China Lake, from CamPen, to test drop the HTW (helicopter trap weapon) and the fuel air explosive device (FAE) from helos. Later that month the squadron C.O., D.K. Tooker and I dropped 250# water/sand filled bomb dummies at CamPen for accuracy tests. I flew a few more missions to China Lake, to test our delivery and accuracy. My last mission to China Lake was in an OV10-A, July '68, at that time I remember they were working on delivery profiles. I know that many things were dropped from helos, mine included, before then.
By late 1970 dropping FAE bombs was a regular mission for HML-167. Did it several times from Oct. to Dec. 1970 just before my tour ended in Dec. 1970.
Hey Allyn I remember putting two 505 lb., bombs on a gunship and dropping them from around 2000 ft. They fell to about 500 ft. then broke into 3 parts, each with a red parachute. Then just above the ground they went, clearing all foilage around. I don't remember if the ''PIED PIPER'' carried them or if we flew cover. TOM FOSTER TV-4 70-71
That would have been a fuel air explosive "bomb."
Can't remember who flew as gunner or co-pilot. I can tell you that I wired up the mount.
At the reunion in Reno last week Col. "Chesty" Miller and I were talking about the bomb and other things. He told me he was the pilot just out of dumb luck. No one else was available at the time to fly the mission.
This thread really brings back some memories for me! (Ron Osborne)
I was in HML-267 (LtCol P. P. Upschulte) in the late summer/early Fall of '68 when I answered the call for volunteers to become the Project Officer for the HTW Project. I was shortly transferred to MAWTU at MCAS El Toro and began a series of trips to China Lake for training. Maj Jon Robson and Maj Bob?? Peterson were stationed at China Lake and had been working with the HTW for some time. Our team of 2 departed for RVN in Jan '69 to install the circuitry on all gunbirds, teach the weapon specifics in classes, then take some pilots out for practice drops -- on selected missions. Warrant Officer Harry Minch was the Ordnance guy who learned about and did all the in-country wiring installations. I flew with every in-country Marine Huey squadron over the next 3 months on these training/practice/actual missions. I remember LtCol Miller as the CO HML-167 at MMAF. He also had Maj Jay Davis and Capt John Henry Key in his command, Marines I had served with in earlier VMO tours. Jay Davis was my Flight Leader the night of 25 Sept '66 when Phil Ducat was blown out of the sky on a night medevac by our own artillery, out by the Razorback. John Henry gave me my PQM check in VMO-1. He was not flying in 167 at the time because he was recovering from his terrible wounds when he was shot down.
Anyway, I had a rough time trying to convincingly teach HTW to the Huey gunship pilots. I had been Flight Instructor for a lot of them in HML-267 and preached that they stay above 1500' if at all possible until they had damned good reason to be lower. The HTW was a parachute-retarded weapon (operative word is retarded!), best delivered S&L from 700' AGL at 80 knots to deliver one or two sticks of 4. IF (big IF) all went well, the chutes would all deploy, the weapons would not drift TOO much and the bombs would land vertically on the fuze in the nose and detonate.
The "bomb" was an old Zuni warhead with a 3/8" continuous steel rod wound back and forth. Zuni had been designed as an air-to-air weapon with a proximity fuze. When the fuze detonated, the rod expanded outward, still continuous (to a point), at a slight angle, to eventually impact the enemy aircraft and damage hell out of his fuselage wings, etc. The parachute was an Army idea to make it go in vertically. The expanding steel rod came off in an ever-expanding circle, angling upward as it expanded. Intent was to clear elephant grass, small trees, punji stakes, grenades wired up in trees, etc (e.g., Helicopter Traps!)
On 1 actual recon insert mission, we actually cleared elephant grass from an LZ, exposing big-assed rocks which would have wreaked havoc if the Frogs had landed there. But the HTW had lots of drawbacks as well. Delivery profile notwithstanding, chute failures could actually put pieces of the expanding rod through the chin bubble on the delivering Huey. The bomb went in at an angle and detonated, sending the steel rod right out in front of the Huey flight path. In addition, the expanding rod had torn Hell out of the circle of pine 2x2's around the drop zone in China Lake. We dropped 2 sticks of 4 into a grove of ironwood trees up near Khe Sanh. All 8 dropped and detonated successfully, However, when we circled back to get BDA, we were unable to tell where they had detonated.
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