The A/MH-6 Little Bird can trace its roots to the McDonnell Douglas OH-6 Cayuse light observation helicopter introduced during the Vietnam War. There are currently two versions of the Little Bird. The AH-6J attack version is configured as a light attack helicopter while the MH-6J variant is configured as an insertion / extraction / transport platform. Both versions are based on the Boeing MD-530F Defender helicopter.
Both versions of the Little Bird are equipped with a Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) system for day/night, all weather operations as well as an inertial/GPS navigational system and radar altimeter for precision, nap of the earth flying. Both are also equipped with secure satellite capable communications. For self-defense both are equipped with a radar warning receiver (RWR) as well as an IR jamming system and chaff/flare dispenser.
The armed variant is equipped with a lightweight universal mounting platform which can accommodate two M134 7.62mm miniguns, two M260 7-shot Hydra 70 2.75" folding-fin aerial rockets. Alternately, the AH-6 can be armed with Hellfire anti-tank missiles, air-to-air stingers, Mk-19 40mm automatic grenade launchers, or .50 caliber heavy machine guns.
The transport variant can accommodate six passengers, seated externally on detachable "planks" to facilitate the rapid debarkation of the aircraft on arrival. In addition, the transport is equipped with a hoist to insert and extract personnel without landing.
The "Little Bird" is based on the Boeing MD-530 Defender. The fuselage body is large teardrop design with the pilot and co-pilot seated side by side. Visibility out of the aircraft is excellent as the forward portion of the cabin is glass enclosed and there are large oval windows in each of the four cabin doors. During combat operations the doors may be removed. The single engine is mounted in the rear of the fuselage, below the high mounted tail boom, with the six-bladed main rotor mounted on the forward portion of the transmission housing. The tail assembly is a "T" type with the horizontal stabilizer mounted on top of the vertical stabilizer. The tail rotor is 4 bladed and mounted on the left side of the vertical stabilizer.