Boeing's new light attack helicopter takes to the skies


May 7, 2014

Boeing has tested its AH-6i light attack helicopter for the first time in its production configuration

Boeing has tested its AH-6i light attack helicopter for the first time in its production configuration

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Boeing has flown its new light attack/reconnaissance helicopter for the first time in its production configuration. A prototype of the AH-6i was taken through preliminary tests in a flight lasting less than 20 minutes. The flight brings the model one step closer to full production.

The AH-6i, part of the AH-6 line, is designed to provide close-air support for land-based forces and to launch attacks on land-based facilities such as tanks, armored vehicles and fortifications. It is based on the OH-6A Cayuse, which was widely used during the Vietnam conflict, and is a more sophisticated version of the AH-6M that is currently used by the US Army Special Operations Forces.

The AH-6i uses a single turbine and features an advanced fuel system to give it an extended-range. It has a number of sensors that make it effective for day and night operations, and which provide operational flexibility. Its weapons configuration can also be easily changed and it makes use of a variety of technologies from the Boeing AH-64E Apache multi-role attack helicopter that Boeing says, "give it superior performance over other aircraft in its class."

During the test flight, Boeing pilots flew the AH-6i at low speeds and elevations. Forward, rearward and sideward movements were run through. Boeing AH-6 program director Scott Rudy explains that the successful completion of the flight will allow for more complex testing over the coming months and, ultimately, commercial production of the aircraft.

"This first AH-6 flight in the production configuration takes us closer to delivering an advanced light attack and reconnaissance helicopter that meets the needs of defense forces around the world," says Rudy.

Source: Boeing

About the Author
Stu Robarts Stu is a tech writer based in Liverpool, UK. He has previously worked on global digital estate management at Amaze and headed up digital strategy for FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology). He likes cups of tea, bacon sandwiches and RSS feeds. All articles by Stu Robarts

Cost about a few billion ,cost to shoot down ,less then 20 pence for a well placed bullet from a gun cost about less then a hundred dollars ,cost to train rebel free ,as poverty made him do it ,


This is probably designed both for manned and unmanned operations. I wouldn't want to be in one in a combat situation.


re: Richardf > thumbs up for your comment.

So true. There's an amazing number of wannabe patriots out there agreeing in whatever spending it takes to beef up the military, with zero worries about cost.

And the same people scream bloody hell and "communism" when it is about paying taxes to have good social programs, and development aid for poor countries even tho very single dollar there prevents more people from ever turning terrorist than all the funding going into war machinery.

Helping and preventing is ridiculously cheaper than fighting the nasty side effects of social injustice. But helping doesn't make these industries rich. And if we need "jobs" producing death and destruction to keep our economy afloat, we are very doomed, in a very basic sense.


yes the Military Industrial Complex that Dwight G Eisenhower warned us about before I was born in 1954 is alive and well. stop this madness

Bill Bennett

This is just an update of a 40 year old Hughes/McDonnel Cayuse. With all the advances in computer CAD/CAM systems and advanced materials, not to mention controls, why can't we produce a kick-butt chopper in less time that is less expensive ?


An old design is not necessarily bad. The DC3, (U.S.Army CH47), is still one of the best, most flyable aircraft ever conceived. Many are still flying. What this article and the pictures do not show are material and engineering changes incorporated in this incarnation. Also, as far the anti-military noisy voices are concerned, whenever the crap is hitting the fan you people are very pleased to have people like me come charging in to forcibly restore order. Peace is not free or cheap. Cowardice is. The current examples for effective military tools can be seen in Syria, Yemen, and Nigeria, just for starters.


dugnology has a valid point in that advancing technology is not reflected in new airframes for helicopters. The AH-6, CH-47, etc. are not of course really the same as the originals that were used in the '60s. The drive trains & the avionics (electronics) have been repeatedly updated. The Army's Joint Multi-role Rotorcraft project will eventually replace most existing helos in use by all the armed forces. A lot of ifs in that, the biggest of which is currently sequestration. The private sector has already built prototypes of helos with propellers that fly much faster than existing ones.


A decent attack helicopter should have a decent number of attackers on board, IMHO, all sitting behind a decent power tool poking through some decent titanium. Attacking should always be done decently lol


@ nutcase 2 a pilot and a gunner. Several people with pop guns is just a waste of space and lift.


I wish I lived in the same world as some of the commenters.

I've been around, and around the world having grown up out of the USA until 19. Spent 27 years in the military including flying helicopters for 20+.

Many good civilian programs bring goodwill to others and demonstrate the kindness inherent in the American heart. However, it seemed to me that any help from the US Government was often as not just used up, misused, mishandled, then if it ever got to those in need they often suspected the "gift" as coming with strings attached.

I am categorically against our government giving any aid to any country. Let the citizens do it. That way if you disagree with the assistance, you don't have to donate to the cause.

There are actually people out there who are bent on attacking the western way of life until it is gone. You're right that their poverty makes it easy for them to choose a terrorist's way of life. Most of them are young and impressionable and sent to die by their older and "wiser" leaders. In any case our aid to these types will not prevent them from continuing to attack our country's citizens whenever possible.

The H-6 is a great platform and relatively survivable in hostile actions. For those who fly/flew it a very capable aircraft. Notwithstanding the Military/Political Industrial Complex there are some great machines out there and those who fly them love them. The 6 & 60 are fabulous machines.

Thanks for your opinions but I just have a problem with social programs that perpetuate an underclass by giving them what others work for and in so doing, inadvertently extinguish the flame of ambition to work for a better life. As a consequence they become voting slaves who will support whatever group will continue to give them a minimalist existence.

Before you gallop to the keyboard I'm not suggesting this applies to all, but certainly from my particular life experience I see it all too often. Long life to the H-6 which almost died due to political support for Bell products notwithstanding their products being inferior. IMO.

Dr. Veritas

If this is a cheaper alternative to a full blown apache all well and good. But if the costs spiral as with these current programs and acquisition cost is high, then this is as good as a flying white elephant. This design is there to reduce costs, reduce overall losses if a machine is lost, reduce losses in manpower, and to be nimble. If this is not happening, then this doesn't have advantage over an apache.

Dawar Saify
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