Back Bell 207 Sioux Scout

Bell 207 Sioux Scout

In July 1962, the experiments with armed helicopters turned to reality as the first Army armed helicopter company was activated in Okinawa for initial deployment in Vietnam. However, the evolution of armed helicopters led to such an increase in weight that the flight capabilities of these machines was severely compromised. Helicopter manufacturers began soon to develop new variants for an interim programme which later became known as AAFSS or Army's Advanced Aerial Fire Support System.

Bell proposed the Warrior and, by December 1962, also modified an OH-13S as an armed helicopter which would combine the desired combat potential with the desired flight performance. The aircraft, known by Bell as Model 207 Sioux Scout embodied several elements which were to become commonplace on future armed attack helicopters, for instance, low drag profile, crew of two seated in tandem with integrated weapons, sighting systems and equipment. A new profiled fuselage was made from a Model 47J-2 rear fuselage mated with an all-new glazed streamlined cockpit with reinforced plastic bubble. The landing gear was of the classic skid-type. As powerplant the Sioux Scout retained the 260hp turbo-supercharged Lycoming TVO-435-A1A and had the rotor system of the OH-13S. The crew was seated in tandem with dual flying controls. The pilot was above and behind the gunner who controlled an Emerson Electric TAT-101 chin-turret armed with two 7.62mm machine-guns. This turret was a privately-funded modified version of the M-60-C gun barbette which, linked to the movement of the gunner's sight, could swivel 200deg in azimuth, and 15deg above and 45deg below the horizon. The Sioux Scout also incorporated stub wings which had been designed to carry auxiliary fuel tanks as well as providing extra lift. Flight tests showed that these wings also improved high-speed turning capability. Several types of wings were evaluated on the Model 207, as well as various types of cowlings, tailboom elevators and fins.

The sole Model 207 prototype (N73927) made its maiden flight on 27 June, 1963, with Al Averill at the controls. This flight lasted ten minutes and by 25 July, the Sioux Scout had logged 18hr 30min flying. At the end of 1963, the aircraft was passed to the US Army for further evaluation by pilots of the IIth Air Assault Division at Fort Benning in Georgia. The Army pilots were surprised at the Model 207's capabilities and asked that such an aircraft but with a more powerful engine be promptly developed.

In fact, albeit a highly promising concept, the Sioux Scout was somewhat limited in true combat capability and had no future. However, it was a major step forward to today's AAHs.

A.J.Pelletier "Bell Aircraft since 1935", 1992

Bell 207 Sioux Scout

Predecessor of the AH-1 Cobra series, this experimental helicopter used the dynamics system and rear fuselage of a Bell OH-13 Sioux, married to a new gunship front fuselage. It had tandem seats with the operator of the twin turret (housing two 7.62mm weapons) behind the pilot. The one model built was evaluated by the US Army.

G.Apostolo "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Helicopters", 1984

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Bell 207 Sioux Scout

Bell 207 Sioux Scout

Technical data for Bell 207 "Sioux Scout"

Engine: 1 x Lycoming TVO 435 turboshaft, rated at 195kW, main rotor diameter: 11.28m

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David Hatcher, e-mail, 25.05.2013reply

This aircraft was never intended for "combat". It was a concept demonstrator. Bell was already constructing a “Warrior” tandem seating apparently using the drive train from the UH1. Bell borrowed a tailboom off a UH1B for photos of it. It had a more steeply stepped crew seating more akin to the MIL 24 Hind. The “concept” eventually morphed into the Bell Model 209 demonstrator and the AH1G.
The “wing” on the aircraft is actually the fuel tank. Later photos show 2.75 FFAR on each wing which were “dummies” and inert. Both the Model 208 and the first 209 are in non-display storage at the Army Aviation Museum at Fort Rucker, Alabama. The first AH1G hangs from the ceiling in the main hall of the museum.

David Hatcher, e-mail, 27.05.2013reply

Ref previous post, A typo Model "208" should be Model "207" Sorry
Bell Model 208 was the first twin engine version of the Model 205. In fact Bell used the YUH1D airframe borrowed (bailed) from the Army (60-6030, sn703)

Charles Hanes, e-mail, 29.12.2013reply

I worked at Emerson Electric and worked on the Sioux scout program. We made the turret and gun sight and I worked at Bell in Fort Worth helping integrate the Gun system. We also went to Fort Sill and made movies. Joe Mashman was a Bell Pilot at the Time> I fired the guns in the movies and did a lot of flying in the sioux. Joe Mashman taught me how to fly it. Old good memories. It had dual controls.

William R Hays Jr, e-mail, 06.06.2022 Charles Hanes

I am building a clone of the 207 Sioux Scout.
Any info on the Emerson turret would be helpful


Adam Hasbrouck, e-mail, 19.08.2008reply

My dad was one of the original test pilots for this aircraft. It's one of his best memories!

CWO Louis Rochat, e-mail, 29.03.2007reply

I transitioned into and flew the AH-1G Cobra upon graduation from Ft Rucker in Jan 1970. In Apr 1970 I was flying an AH1G in the first group of aircraft to Invade Cambodia. Over the next 11 years I flew every Cobra thru the AH1S model. And though I also flew the Hughes OH6A in combat and think it is pretty much the greatest helicopter made, the AH1G Cobra is a tie with the Hughes. The Army made a huge mistake getting rid of the Cobra. At least the USMC knew what they had and still use the Cobra today. Of course it has been 37 years since first flying the Cobra but I would not hestitate to get back in it,,,,unless there was an European Tiger available. And nothing will ever replace the Bell Huey! Headhunter 16, 9th Air Cavalry.

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