Saudi Arabia accepts first AH-6i helos
Gareth Jennings, London – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly
21 December 2016
audi Arabia has accepted into service the first of 24 Boeing AH-6i Little Bird light attack and reconnaissance helicopters, the manufacturer disclosed in the December issue of its in-house magazine, Frontiers.
While Boeing did not name Saudi Arabia, it said in Frontiers that the first international customer accepted the type in August.
The company told reporters in June that deliveries would begin from its Mesa production facility in Arizona in the coming weeks, but declined to discuss the issue after that. The US Army too would not comment to IHS Jane’s on the sale, which has been widely reported to be for the Saudi Arabian National Guard (SANG), beyond a Federal Business Opportunities notification posted in August in which it said that the first 12 helicopters would be transported to Saudi Arabia “as soon as possible”.
The AH-6i features an enhanced powerplant, payload, and avionics package, giving it enhanced ‘hot and high’ capabilities; a large and varied arsenal that includes 7.62 mm and 12.7 mm machine guns and AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles; and interoperability with the latest-variant AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter.
Production has been running at two airframes per month, with the last of the SANG’s helicopters due to arrive on the line in February 2017.
Original post janes.com