HSS-1 (S-58)


  HSS-1 (S-58) belonging to the 33F squadron. (SIRPA)




Developped in order to compete for the new ASW helicopter of the USN ; the Sikorsky S-58 was a little bit bigger than the S-55 which was in service in the Navy as the HO4S. The S-58 was equipped with a Wright R-1820-84 Cyclone radial (twice powerful than the engine of the HO4S), also fitted in the nose. The other main improvements were a new rotor, a four-bladed tail rotor and a reinforced fuselage. Tail section and rotors could be folded while the S-58 was aboard warships. The prototype of the S-58 (XHSS-1) first flew on March 8th 1954 and the first serial-airframe of the HSS-1 Seabat (SH-34G) took off on September 20th. Deliveries to the HS-3 Squadron started in August 1955. A new version, the HSS-1N (SH-34J) fitted for night operations equipped with a Doppler APN-97 appeared. The S-58 was replaced by the H-3A for ASW missions and then used by the USN as UH-34G and UH-34J for transport. The USMC, took delivery in February 1957 of its HUS-1s (UH-34). Forty UH-34Ds known as HUS-1A (UH-34E) were equipped with floats, four were fitted for Artic conditions (HUS-11 & LH-34D), six were transfered to the USCG (HUS-1G & HH-34F) and seven HUS-1Zs (VH-34D) for VIP transportation. The US Army had used for years, the H-34A Choctaw. The H-34A was followed by the B & C variants ; few civilian variants were also built (S-58B and D). The production ended in 1970, 1,800 airframes had been built including the Sud-Aviation HSS-1s and the Westland Wessex built under license in France and UK.

In France, Sud-Aviation built under license 166 airframes, as the H-34 for the French Army & FAF and as the HSS-1 for the French Naval Aviation which took delivery of 61 HSS-1s. They were allocated to the 20S (1957-1979), 31F (1960-1978), 32F (1958-1970) and 33F (1959-1979) squadrons. They operated in Algeria and Chad. Their primary mission had been ASW since 1962, but the 33F used them for tactical transport (navy-commandos) from the CV Arromanches. It was retired on June 19th 1979. They were replaced by the WG-13 Lynx (ASW) and the SA-321G Super-Frelon (transport). It could accommodate sixteen soldiers or height strechers.

S-58 of the French Air Force. (D. Allard)
S-58 of the French Air Force. (D. Allard)

Specifications :

48 ft 4 in
14. 07 m
55 ft 10 in
18. 09 m
16 ft 10 in
5. 01 m
7 559 lb (empty)/ 12 698 lb (full)
3 429 kg (empty)/ 5 760 kg (full)
98 mph
158 km/ h
195 nm
362 km
1 525 hp
1 137 kW