by Richard Tomkins
Mesa, Ariz. (UPI) May 2, 2013
The first production-standard AH-6i reconnaissance and light attack helicopter by Boeing has flown for the first time.
Boeing said that during the recent flight, which lasted less than 20 minutes, the aircraft was flown at low speeds and performed forward, rearward and sideward maneuvers.
"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," said Boeing AH-6 Program Director Scott Rudy.
The single-turbine AH-6i has a top speed of 176 miles per hour and a range of 267 miles. It can carry a 30mm cannon and two machine guns in addition to rockets and anti-tank missiles. The aircraft is a variant of the AH-6M helicopter operated by the U.S. Army Special Operations Forces and utilizes advanced technologies from Boeing's AH-64E Apache attack helicopter.
The first flight in standard production configuration follows resolution of a dispute between Boeing and MD Helicopters over the aircraft's basic design, Boeing said.
Testing to expand the aircraft's flight envelope will be conducted over the next few months.
Aerospace News at SpaceMart.com
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