The US Army plans to keep the famed MH-6 ‘Little Bird’ helicopter in service until “Future Vertical Lift aircraft” become available. The light helicopters are used for special operations in the US Army and rose to fame in the movie Blackhawk down where it was used to support operators who were trapped in the city of Mogadishu in Somalia.
“Right now with the current technology, we are wed to the program that is going to provide us the 3.0 block upgrade to our current Mission Enhanced Little Bird,” Brig. Gen. John Evans, commander of the U.S. Army’s Special Operations Aviation Command, said at the Army Aviation Association of America’s annual summit Friday.
“We expect that to take us into at least the [Future Vertical Lift] time frame,” he said. “I don’t believe we are going to see anything that is going to emerge prior to FVL that would replace the Little Bird.”
A year ago, Army Special Operations was mulling how it might be able to replace its aging light-assault helicopter, but since the Army doesn’t fly Little Birds in its much larger fleet, Special Operations would have to procure a smaller number of helicopters — about 70 — by itself, which would drive the unit price up to a level that could be unaffordable. – Defense News
The Special Operations Aviation Command is still trying to decide what type of aircraft will be the best fit for future missions. If they do give up the MH-6 for a larger type platform that is faster they may have to change tactics and not fly into certain areas that the Little Bird can currently go.
Featured image by US Army