The Sikorsky H-34 Choctaw (Company designation S-58) was a piston-engined military helicopter originally designed by American aircraft manufacturer Sikorsky for the United States Navy for service in the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) role.
Sikorsky H-34s have since served mostly as medium transports on every continent with the armed forces of twenty-five countries — from combat in Algeria, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and throughout Southeast Asia, to saving flood victims, recovering astronauts, fighting fires, and carrying presidents. As one of the last piston-powered helicopter designs before its replacement by turbine-powered types such as the UH-1 Huey and CH-46 Sea Knight, it would see a remarkably long run of 2,108 H-34s produced between 1953 and 1970. It would see extended use when adapted to turbine power by the British licencee as the Westland Wessex and Sikorsky as the later S-58T. The British did not retire the Wessex until 2003 as the main transport helicopter; it was replaced by the Aérospatiale Puma.
The French Navy and Armée de l’Air adopted the SH-34 Seabat and H-34, using the helicopter during the Algerian War of 1956-62. The French operated their Sikorsky S- 58s in troop insertions/extractions, medical evacuations, SAR, and resupply missions throughout Algeria, especially in the mountain strongholds of the rebels. Their crews wore bullet-proof vests and some armor was added. The French Navy used the CH-34 from the French aircraft carrier Arromanches (R95)
France bought 134 Choctaws in parts from the United States and assembled by Sud-Aviation. A further 166 were manufactured later locally for the French Army, Navy and Air force, these again produced by Sud-Aviation.