Boeing AH-6i is a light attack / reconnaissance helicopter designed primarily for export markets. It is an advanced variant of the AH-6M helicopter operated by the US Army Special Operations Forces. The helicopter is intended to provide close air support for land-based forces. It can also serve as an attack platform for destroying enemy tanks, armoured vehicles and fortifications.
The ground clearance is increased with an extended height landing gear. The modular design allows the integration of flexible mission configurations, as well as additional capabilities for future requirements.
The helicopter features new main and tail rotor systems for superior performance. The flight characteristics were further improved with the addition of enhanced directional control, a new vertical stabiliser and collective trim actuator.
The AH-6i helicopter has a length of 7.5m, height of 1.6m and width of 3.3m. The wing span of the rotorcraft is 8.38m. The helicopter can carry a payload of 907kg.
Boeing’s first production AH-6i Little Bird completes maiden flight: Here
The first production AH-6i light attack and reconnaissance helicopter took to the skies
(Credit: Boeing Defense)
Cockpit and avionics of the helicopter
The new advanced glass cockpit design of AH-6i incorporates bubble-window crew doors. The cockpit accommodates two crew, including a pilot and co-pilot. The night vision goggle (NVG) compatible cockpit integrates two multifunction displays, an up-front display, a 3-in-1 flight information display, vertical information display and pilot and co-pilot intercom control station (ICS) panels.
Dedicated panels are provided for electrical power, radio control, armament, jettison and lighting.
Lightweight multiple weapons support
The AH-6i helicopter features a lightweight multiple weapons support system for mounting wide range of weapons, including the M-134D 7.62mm mini-gun, GAU-19 12.7mm mini-gun, M260 seven-shot rocket pod, laser-guided 70mm Folding-Fin Aerial Rocket (FFAR) and Hellfire semi-active laser (SAL) missiles.
M-134D 7.62mm mini-gun GAU-19 12.7mm mini-gunM260 seven-shot rocket podlaser-guided 70mm Folding-Fin Aerial Rocket (FFAR)2.75 inch (70 mm) Hydra rocketHellfire semi-active laser (SAL) missiles
The Hellfire is a laser guided air-to-surface missile (ASM) equipped with multimission, multitarget precision-strike capabilities. The integrated weapon support system enables the AH-6 to perform counteraction missions involving the destruction of key enemy installations.
Sensor system and communications
The AH-6i helicopter features an L-3 Wescam MX-15Di EO/IR targeting sensor system.
The MX-15Di can be integrated with up to six high-performance sensors, including a laser designator with LRF, laser illuminator, eye-safe laser range-finder, colour daylight camera with zoom lens, mono daylight camera with spotter lens and an infra red (IR) with high magnification four-step zoom.
L-3 Wescam MX-15Di EO/IR targeting sensor system
The navigation equipment and systems onboard the AH-6i include a LN251 INS/GPS, Boeing integrated digital map, L3 standby flight instrumentation system, HARCO air data computer and an APN-209 radar altimeter.
The LN-251 is a fully integrated, non-dithered navigation system with an embedded 12/24 channel, All-In-View, Selective Availability/Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM), P(Y) code or Standard Positioning Service (SPS) GPS. The LN-251 fully integrated, tightly coupled GPS inertial design provides superior navigation performance relative to other embedded INS/GPS units. The non-dithered inertial sensor achieves the lowest measurement error in its class for increased sensor accuracy. Its modular open system architecture provides for easy adaptation to other applications and evolving requirements.
Northrop Grumman’s highly reliable LN-251 INS/GPS has various advantages, including light weight, low cost and high performance. The LN-251 fiber-optic gyro (FOG) employs one of our most modern technologies and includes three independent navigation solutions: blended INS/GPS, INS-only, and GPS-only. The non-dithered, low noise FOG technology eliminates self-induced acceleration and velocity noise. Additionally, Standard Positioning Service GPS (coarse/acquisition code) is available. Our LN-251 has independent and programmable inputs and outputs for flight controls and avionics. The LN-251 has a non-dithered inertial sensor that allows additional accurate velocity measurements and is available in 0.8, 1.0 and 2.0 nmi/hr classes of performance. The system is capable of AR-57 shipboard alignment. Source northropgrumman.com
HARCO air data computer
HARCO’s air data computers compute a variety of functions such as Static Pressure, Total Pressure, Calibrated Airspeed, Mach, SAT, TAS, Altitude Rate, Airspeed Rate, and Pressure Ratio – any air data function can be added. In some unique applications, equivalent airspeed is calculated instead of calibrated airspeed. HARCO will be glad to work with you in determining the exact computer specifications for your application. Source hellotrade.com
APN-209 radar altimeter
Claimed to be one of smallest, lightest and most proven altimeters in the market, the APN-209 provides the pilot and flight control computer with an indication of height above the nearest terrain point below the aircraft, such as a tower or building.
The information provided by the lightweight and compact altimeter is said to ensure that the pilot and crew have the most accurate information about the landscape around their helicopter.
Capable of being integrated with an altitude indicator and mounted in the helicopter cockpit, the radar altimeter also includes advanced features such as low-probability of detection, intercept and exploitation. Source army-technology.com
The helicopter is equipped with Wulfsberg RT5000/C5000 digital communications system.
Wulfsberg RT5000/C5000 digital communications system
Engine onboard Boeing’s AH-6i
AH-6i is powered by a Rolls-Royce 250-C30R/3M engine which develops a power output of 650shp. The engine is controlled by Full Authority Digital Electronic Controller (FADEC). It enables a maximum speed of 132kt. (Army Technology)
Rolls-Royce 250-C30R/3M engine
Rolls-Royce 250-C30R/3M engine which develops a power output of 650shp
AH-6 Technical Specifications
|Maximum Cruise Speed||126 knots|
|Maximum Range||179 nmi (331 km)|
|Maximum Endurance||2.1 hrs|
|Maximum Rate of Climb||2,162 ft per min|
|Maximum Service Ceiling||20,000 ft|
Helicopter orders and deliveries
In July 2010, Boeing and MD Helicopters signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to jointly produce and market the AH-6i helicopter.
In May 2010, Jordan’s Government signed a letter of intent for procuring the AH-6i light attack / reconnaissance helicopter.
In February 2012, Boeing and the Saudi Arabian Government signed a letter of acceptance for 36 AH-6i helicopters.
The Chilean Ministry of Defence expressed interest in the AH-6i helicopters. Other South American nations including Colombia, Brazil and Argentina also showed their interest in the AH-6i helicopter.
Boeing Readies First AH-6i for Delivery to Saudi Arabia: Here
Main material source army-technology.com
Updated Dec 24, 2016
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