A Little Bird with a Big History
I’ve always been a big fan of the U.S. Army’s MH-6 “Little Bird” helicopter. Why? I don’t know. It’s not like it’s the most advanced looking aircraft in the fleet. Honestly, it’s rather ungainly looking. In fact, its bulbous nose and tapering fuselage profile has earned the fully armed attack variant AH-6 the nickname, “Killer Egg.” Which, once you look deeper into the aircraft’s lineage and mission history is really rather appropriate.
The lineage of today’s A/MH-6 series started back in 1960, when the U.S. Army sent out specifications for a new, do-it-all Light Observation Helicopter. According to records, some 12 companies took part in the open completion and when it was all settled, the winner was the Hughes Tool Company Aircraft Division’s Model 369 turbine helicopter. During proceeding development, the aircraft was originally designated the YHO-6A, but the Army changed the designation to the OH-6 Cayuse when the type entered fully operational service in 1966.
Since its introduction, one of the more unique features of the series is the installation of external “benches” designed to ferry up to three, fully-outfitted Army commandos on each side. This, along with the helicopter’s extreme maneuverability and ability to land in very confined areas, has become one of its most valuable traits for the U.S. Army. With its relatively short fuselage and minimal rotor diameter can get up to eight, fully-outfitted soldiers in and back out of locations that are virtually impossible to access with other helicopters.
Of course, if you want to get really serious, it also comes in the aforementioned, AH-6 attack version, which can be armed with a variety of increasingly lethal weaponry including chain guns, rockets and missiles. The AH-6 is one “light attack” helicopter that is street fight ready.
No matter which model you talk about, the Army’s growing fleet of Little Birds has long played a variety of big roles in every type of situation and conflict around the world in a variety of capacities. One of the more clandestine variants of the model was even reported to have been part of U.S. activities in Germany during then President Ronald Reagan’s famous “Tear down this wall!” speech.
With such a significant history behind the “Little Bird,” it’s easy to understand why everyone here at Avalex Technologies is so very proud that our new-generation 15” Large Area Display (LAD) unit has been chosen as part of a major avionics and capabilities upgrade for this amazing aircraft.
Ruggedized against the harshest of helicopter environments and designed to replace the legacy flight instruments this multifunction display can render and control side-by-side high resolution avionics, navigation and tactical graphical content. The LAD will give Little Birdpilots much more aircraft and mission information with a significantly enhanced level of reliability and accuracy than is possible with current steam gauge flight instruments.
And in today’s irregular battlespace, more information is critical to the safe and successful completion of every mission.