June 19, 2024

People in the military immediately recognise these helicopters as US Army models when they hear the names Kiowa, Apache, Comanche, Lakota, and Black Hawk. They are typically recognised in society as the names of Native American tribes. This is not merely a coincidence or a case of name selection at random. In actuality, the US Army has been giving Native American tribes as names for their helicopters for many years.

The listed criteria for selecting names are as follows. In order to:

  1. Appeal to the imagination without sacrificing dignity.
  2. Suggest an aggressive spirit and confidence in the item’s capabilities.
  3. Reflect the item’s characteristics, including mobility, agility, flexibility, firepower, and endurance.
  4. Be based on tactical application, not source or method of manufacture.
  5. Be associated with the preceding qualities and criteria if a person’s name is proposed.

The Army’s 2008 article states that they would first need to request approval, which typically takes 12 to 18 months. The aeroplane would then take part in a ceremony where Native American elders would attend to bless it with their tribal blessings after all the necessary clearances had been granted. Even after the cancellation of the AR 70-28, this practise has persisted.
 The US Army had two helicopters with the names “Hoverfly” and “Dragonfly” prior to using Native American names. Army General Hamilton Howze did not like the names very much. He was given the duty of “developing policy and the way forward when it came to designating Army aircraft in a way that represented how they would help warfighters on the ground” after the Air Force separated from the Army in 1947. He gave the helicopters names based on their capabilities. He came up with the concept, according to Army.

Howze said since the choppers were fast and agile, they would attack enemy flanks and fade away, similar to the way the tribes on the Great Plains fought during the aforementioned American Indian Wars. He decided the next helicopter produced — the well-known H-13 of “M.A.S.H.” fame — would be called the Sioux in honor of the Native Americans who fought Army Soldiers in the Sioux Wars and defeated the 7th Cavalry Regiment at the Battle of Little Bighorn.