Congress Concerned About AH/MH-6 Little Bird's Future | Defense Media Network

As Congress wrangles over the National Defense Authorization Act, which President Barack Obama has threatened to veto, one of the provisions remaining is a directive to the Secretary of Defense to lay out the way forward for U.S. Special Operations Command’s AH/MH-6 Little Bird fleet.

Under Section 142 of House bill H.R. 1735, he is directed to: “…submit to the congressional defense committees a strategy for replacing A/MH-6 Mission Enhanced Little Bird aircraft to meet the rotary-wing, light attack, reconnaissance requirements particular to special operations.”

via Congress Concerned About AH/MH-6 Little Bird’s Future | Defense Media Network.

The Little Birds have been in service for a long, long time. They’ve been continuously upgraded, of course, and will continue to be upgraded. The problem is, upgrades cost weight, and there’s only  so much room for improvement before performance suffers unacceptably. That drives a strong temptation to use a bigger helicopter, but that kind of defeats the purpose of the Little Bird.

I have a suspicion the eventual replacement for the MD530 series will be another MD series, but we’ll see. For now, the Little Birds A/MH-6 are expected to stay in service for at least another decade.

3 thoughts on “Congress Concerned About AH/MH-6 Little Bird's Future | Defense Media Network”

  1. The original was the OH-6 which was replaced by the POS Bell OH-58 and the progeny has only gotten better as the 500D Hugh’s. Love the bird and if all else fails the Eurocopter entry’s would be job capable BUT I’d like the American product continue if
    practible.

    1. I’m not in love with the Jet Ranger either. As I recall, the original birds had the same engine, but Hughes got a lot more performance out of than Bell did. I still think the 500 was a much better chopper, but Hughes tried to take the Army on spare parts, and it didn’t go over at all well. Hughes thought it had Army over a barrel with Vietnam hot and getting hotter, but they learned the hard way. The OH-6 was almost gone from the active inventory by the time I reached Rucker in ’76. The Silver Eagles were still flying them and the team was disbanded less than 2 years later as the Kiowa simply wasn’t up to the task of flying the show the Silver Eagles flew.

  2. Working with the Little Bird guys at exercises (and occasionally down-range) was always a lot of fun, they are really amazing platforms, especially in urban areas. One of the few regrets I have from my time as a SOF aviator was not getting a fam ride on the Little Bird.

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