Boeing is in talks with the Philippines Armed Forces (PAF) are in an early stage of talks for AH-6i light attack and reconnaissance helicopter. This was confirmed by Jane’s in a report quoting Terry Jamison, director for global sales and marketing of Vertical Lift Division of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. With the U.S. State Department having recently approved the potential sale of Boeing’s AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter to the Philippine Air Force (PAF), the company is also exploring the possibility of selling the AH-6i to the Philippine Army also.
The Philippine Army is active in building up its aviation unit with armed reconnaissance and air assault and air medical evacuation by utilizing rotary wing aircraft. In October 2019, the Army upgraded its Aviation Battalion into Aviation Regiment. While the Philippine Air Force has a twin-engined attack helicopter requirement for which both the Apache and the Bell AH-1Z Viper were approved for sale on 30 April, the Philippine Army is looking for a single-engined light attack helicopter.
AH-6 procurement would likely replace 12 ageing MD 500MGs now flown by the Philippines Air Force . The MD 500 is also a ‘Little Bird’ derivate of the same Hughes OH-6 Cayuse (Hughes Model 369 in its civilian version) that spawned the AH-6. The Boeing AH-64E and AH-6i would make highly capable stand-alone solutions for both the air force and army respectively. Both hekicopters share 83% of their mission software, so having two such closely aligned airframes would provide benefits for support, training, and operations.
The Boeing The AH-6i is a series export version of light helicopter gunships based on the MH-6 Little Bird and MD 500 family. Visually, the two types are similar, as the AH-6i is a heavily modified derivative of the MD500. The AH-6i has six rotor blades, while the MD530G has five. The AH-6i also has a four-blade canted tail rotor, while the MD530G has just two. Other key AH-6i features, include crash-resistant seats, self-sealing fuel tanks, and a greater ammunition load-out. when their aircraft are not tasked for combat duties, the weapons systems can be stripped out and room made for passengers, such as special forces troops.