U.S. Special Operations Command awarded a contract to Boeing worth up to $45 million for 56 upgraded primary airframe structures for the A/MH-6 Little Bird helicopter. SOCOM obligated $5.2 million in FY18 procurement funding at the time of the award. The majority of the work will be conducted in Mesa, Arizona.
U.S. Army Special Operations forces utilize the Little Bird as a light and nimble troop transport and attack helicopter. The MH-6 is an unarmed variant used for carrying troops, while the AH-6 can be outfitted with a variety of guns, rockets, and missiles.
At one point, SOCOM was considering replacing the Little Bird fleet, but has since decided to upgrade the helicopters and keep them in service for the time being. The rotorcraft are not expected to be replaced until the Army’s Future Vertical Lift program takes shape. FVL is a broad development program intended to replace thousands of various utility and attack helicopters across U.S. military fleets in the 2030s.