American helicopter maker MD Helicopters may have just changed the face of close air support with the enhanced MD 969 Twin Attack Helicopter. First unveiled at the HAI Heli-Expo in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, last month, MD Helicopters also took to the 2019 Army Aviation Mission Solutions Summit at Nashville, Tennessee, to show off the light attack helicopter.
The MD 969 Twin Attack Helicopter may not be as sleek as the Apache or the Cobra, but boy, this bird’s capabilities is no slouch – thanks to the addition of a custom, 7-shot Common Launch Tube (CLT) System designed by Systima Technologies, affording it with capability not found on any light attack helicopter.
The CLT, outfitted to the rear of the fuselage, is able to deploy a range of guided munitions, ground sensors and sonobuoys, and even small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, AKA drones). The latter will provide increased situational awareness for both ground and air-based warfighters in situations where line of sight is obscured.
Fortunately, though, the scenario of an aircraft deploying thousands of tiny man-killing drones is still not real, yet. Whether missiles or drones, the CLT certainly gives the MD 696 renewed capabilities that may just turnaround a war. Now imagine a AC-130 Gunship outfitted with a similar hardware, but with a lot more capacity for munitions, sensors, or drones… yikes…
Images: MD Helicopters.