Nov. 20, 2013 by Craig Hoyle – FG
Dubai - Boeing has received the green light to start building AH-6i light attack helicopters for an undisclosed customer.
“Boeing has recently signed an FMS [Foreign Military Sales] agreement with the US Army that will lead to production of the AH-6i for a first international customer,” Leanne Caret, the company’s vice-president, vertical lift, revealed at the Dubai air show on 18 November.
Derived from the MD Helicopters AH-6 Little Bird platform, the i-model has been the subject of previous FMS requests from Jordan and Saudi Arabia. While Boeing declines to name its launch buyer, or to disclose how many aircraft will be supplied, Flightglobal’s Ascend Online Fleets database suggests that Riyadh will acquire 36 examples.
The aircraft will be produced at Boeing’s Mesa plant in Arizona, under the terms of an existing agreement with MD Helicopters.
Meanwhile, Caret says Boeing sees “a number of export opportunities” for its CH-47F Chinook, and cites the success of the type’s introduction by operators including the US Army, Canada and the UK. Potential additional buyers exist “in this region, and elsewhere around the world,” she adds.
The United Arab Emirates has now received seven F-model examples from a 16-unit order, says Ascend.