Formerly the Hughes model 369, the OH-6A Cayuse (nicknamed "Loach") was designed for use as a military scout during the Vietnam conflict to meet the U.S. Army's need for an extremely maneuverable light observation helicopter. Initially fielded in Vietnam in early 1968, the Cayuse was employed in command and control; observation and reconnaissance; and target acquisition. The four-passenger teardrop shaped was a small, light, sturdy, highly, maneuverable helicopter, with very low drag.
The Cayuse was teamed often with the AH-1G "Cobra" attack helicopter in acquiring and attacking enemy targets. The Cayuse would "troll for fire" across suspected enemy positions; place smoke on the target; and allow the Cobra to attack the positions. The Cayuse could absorb an extensive amount of enemy small arms fire; yet still bring the crew home.