Flown by the U.S. Army’s elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, the MH-6 Little Bird is primarily used to insert special operations forces onto rooftops or on narrow roadways. Based on the (Hughes) McDonnell Douglas MD369, the MH-6 Little Bird and its attack variant AH-6 carries three commandos on bench seats mounted to the side doors of the helicopter.
The Little Bird was originally designed as a scout helicopter for Army armored units, but since the early 1980s it has been used almost exclusively by the special operations community.
It has an unrefueled range of 250 nautical miles. The AH-6 Little Bird Gun, a light attack helicopter, has been tested and proven in combat. Armed with guns, Hellfire missiles, and 2.75-inch FFAR, it provides armed helicopter support to both ground and air special operations. The unrefueled range of the AH-6 is 250 nautical miles. These versions were all powered by a single Allison T-63 252 SHP engine.
Later versions are based on the successful Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) MD-500/MD-530 series helicopters. The latest versions of these aircraft, the AH-6J attack helicopter and MH-6J insertion and extraction transport, based on the MD-530F, feature a more powerful engine and improved avionics, including an embedded GPS/inertial navigation system and forward-looking infrared (FLIR). The AH-6J can be armed with two seven-tube 2.75 inch rocket launchers and two 7.62mm M134 miniguns. The Little Bird can also be armed with .50 Cal. machine guns, MK19 40mm grenade machine gun, Hellfire missiles, and Air-to-Air Stinger (ATAS) missiles.
The MH-6 Little Bird made its way into popular culture with the book and movie “Black Hawk Down,” which portrayed MH-6 Little Birds carrying Delta Force Soldiers into the overrun city of Mogadishu. The Little Birds, along with MH-60 Black Hawks from the 160th SOAR held off attackers and supported Rangers and Delta operators when their raid was ambushed by insurgents.