MD Helicopters AH-600 / 800 “Little Bird II” Light Attack Helicopter:


The MD Helicopters HM-600 was a series of observation and light utility helicopters which were partially based on the older MD-500 family of helicopters. These helicopters were first introduced in Twenty-Thirties and took advantage of the revolution in high strength alloys and composites and were much stronger than any previous helicopter design. There was also the HM-800 series produced which used an advanced energy cell system instead


There was number of attack helicopter designs based on the MD-500 Helicopter with one known as the "Little Bird." Not as powerful as the larger Apache and Cobra helicopters, the Little Bird was still quite effective in many roles. It was initially operated by the United States military but a number of smaller nations also bought these helicopters or others extremely similar. They could be armed with a variety of light and heavy automatic weapons, grenade launchers, rockets, smaller air to air missiles such as the stinger, and anti-tank weapons such as the TOW missile system. Most often they operated against smaller actions such as against insurgencies.


After the revolution in high strength materials, MD Helicopters decided to offer a military version of the HM-600 to replace the "Little Bird." a variety of names were considered but eventually the name "Little Bird II" was settled on. The helicopter was developed with the assistance of Boeing Aerospace. Being that the design was relatively cheap, large numbers of these helicopters were sold. Unlike the original "Little Bird," only a handful were bought by United States military forces. When the HM-600 was modified into the HM-800, an armed version of that was introduced. Surprisingly, some militaries preferred the older model due to a lack of generators to keep the electrically powered helicopters flying.


One might expect that with the introduction of power armors that the helicopter might be replaced but power armors were quite expensive. This was the case with the United States Military to a large extent. MD Helicopters was beginning to consider shutting down their manufacturing of the AH-800 but there continued a high demand for the light attack helicopter. It retained several key advantages including that it was much cheaper, less expensive to maintain, and could actually carry more weaponry in many cases.


There were hundreds of the helicopters operating when the Rifts reshaped the Earth. Like most creations of man, no matter how strong, most of these helicopters were destroyed. Still, many survived. These helicopters found themselves fighting foes that were never every considered including monsters. As well, sky cycles were a new threat being far faster in most cases. Still, they were far cheaper than the cycles and could perform many of the same roles. Many civilian HM-600 helicopters have also be rearmed similarly although energy weapons and rail guns are much more common on them. As well, there have been helicopters which appear to be new which have been marketed. It has led some to speculate that the production facilities, which were suppose to be located in Arizona, to have survived. Others think it is more likely that these are orders which were waiting for shipment but were never shipped due to the events of the Rifts overtaking the world.


The helicopter is designed to mount four lightweight weapon systems. Weaponry is almost always mounted in pairs. A maximum of two guns can be carried and most often two are carried. Exclusively missiles can be carried as well for certain missions. Gun mounts available when introduced were 8 mm liquid propellant Gatling mounts or automatic grenade launchers. The grenade launchers inflict quite devastating damage but are of limited usefulness against fast moving targets. In later service, the USA-M31 Rail Gun replaced the liquid propellant weapon in most models. Pre-Rifts models often substitute Coalition or Northern Gun rail guns for the original liquid propellant weapons. As well, energy weapons have become popular although lack of a fusion power source means that they mostly are powered by energy clips.


Missiles include a five shot rocket pack loaded with mini-missiles. The helicopter design is such than only two of these can be carried although two can be mounted along with two gun pack. A pair of short range missiles, usually air to air missiles can be carried on each "hard point." These missiles have slightly smaller warheads but accelerate much faster than standard short range missiles. Finally, the helicopter can carry a single "Shortened" medium range missiles. These don't have the range of a standard medium range missile but carry the same warhead.


As far as electronics, the AH-600/800 does not mount a full sensor suit but many models do mount a large array of additional electronics although stripped versions are also available. These include radar threat warning equipment, forward looking infra-red (FLIR), and chaff and flare self defense systems. Most sophisticated radio systems are also usually carried. A spotlight can be carried under the fuselage but this is not commonly mounted except for in some paramilitary applications. The helicopter is not fitted out for protection against gas or radiation.


Model Type:MD Helicopters AH-600Conventional Turbo-Rotor Design
MD Helicopters AH-800Upgraded Energy-Cell Design
Class: Light Attack Helicopter
Crew: Two (can be flown by one)
Troops: Three internally (Six Internal / External)


M.D.C. By Location:AH-600:AH-800:
Light Hard Points (4)4 each5 each
USA-LPG-8-A Gatling Cannons (2, Optional):45 each45 each
AGL-40 Grenade Launchers (2, Optional):50 each50 each
USA-M31 Rail Gun (2, Optional):50 each50 each
Mini-Missile Pod (2, Optional):40 each40 each
[1] Main Rotor:3040
[1] Tail:4050
Landing Skids (2):35 each45 each
Reinforced Cockpit:6080
[2] Main Body:120150


Notes:
[1] Destruction of the main rotor will knock the helicopter from the sky. Destruction of the tail will cause the helicopter to have penalties of -40% on piloting skill/maneuvers, -6 to dodge, and -3 to strike (if fitted with weapon systems.) Due to reduced control, effective speed is reduced by 50% and cannot hover. Pilot needs to attempt to land the helicopter as quickly as possible.
[2] Destroying the main body knocks the helicopter out of the sky and renders it completely useless.


Speed:
Driving on Ground (Taxiing): Cannot taxi. Does not mount wheels but instead has skids. Only time a moving landing might be tried is the helicopter has taken damage which prevents hovering.
Flying: Hover to 184.2 mph (296.52 kph / 160 knots) with a ceiling of 19,500 feet (5,943.6 meters.) Cruising speed is 166.98 mph (268.72 kph/ 145 knots). The helicopter has great maneuverability and VTOL capabilities.
Range: MD Helicopters AH-600: Has a normal cruise range of 345.47 miles (555.97 km / 300 nautical miles.) MD Helicopters AH-800: Has a normal cruise range of 460.62 miles (741.30 km / 400 nautical miles.)


Statistical Data:
Height: 9.0 feet (2.74 meters)
Rotor Width: 28.5 feet (8.69 meters)
Length: 33.25 feet (10.13 meters)
Weight: 1,650 pounds (748.43 kg) empty and 3,400 pounds (1,542.21 kg) fully loaded
Power System: MD Helicopters AH-600: Conventional - Used Turbo-Shaft Engine. MD Helicopters AH-800: High Capacity Energy cell (Battery) with some having been converted to fusion.
Cargo: Minimal (Storage for small equipment), without passengers can carry 881.8 lbs (400 kg) in rear area of cockpit. Can sling 1322.8 lbs (600 kg) externally instead of internal cargo (with no weapons mounted.)
Black Market Cost: MD Helicopters AH-600: 500,000 credits MD Helicopters AH-800: 650,000 credits - Add 500,000 for fusion powered model. (Reduce cost by 10,000 for each electronic system not mounted not including spotlight. Elimination of chaff and flare also reduces cost by 10,000 credits)


Weapon Systems:

  1. Four (4) Light Hard Points: The helicopter has four light hard points for weapon systems or missiles. Almost always loaded in pairs, they are mounted on the sides of the fuselage of the helicopter. Both are normally fired together although a single might be fired to conserve ammunition. The upper points usually mount a pair of gun pods - 8 mm liquid propellant weapons, automatic grenade launchers (Originally the US AGL-40 although post Rifts designs often mount the Wellington WI-GL21), or rail guns (originally the USA-M31 although post Rifts designs often substitute the C-40R or NG-202). Many owners have replaced the liquid propellant weapons with light energy weapons. These are basically energy rifles fitted into aircraft mounts and have their own energy source. The lower hard points cannot mount gun pods limiting the number of gun mounts to two. The lower hard points can mount a mini-missile pod with five mini-missiles in it. The aircraft can also carry short range missiles or a "shortened" medium range missile. Each hard point, upper or lower, can carry a "shortened" medium range missile or two short range missiles. The short range missiles are often the higher acceleration "anti-air" variation.
    1. USA-LPG-8-A Liquid Propellant Gatling Gun (2 Maximum):Usually mounted in pairs in the upper hard points and cannot be mounted in lower hard points. This weapons primary purpose is use against infantry and other lightly armored targets. The weapon can fire all types of burst available to machine guns except extended bursts. The weapon uses a special liquid propellant which delivers about four times the force of nitro-cellulose propellant and the weapon fires an 8 mm round. Weapon is replaced in most versions of the helicopter.
      Maximum Effective Range: 3,000 feet (914 meters)
      Mega-Damage:
      Single Shot (Costs 1 attack): 1D6 (2D6 for both mounts)
        Ten Round Burst on One Target (Costs 1 attack): 5D6 (1D6x10 for both mounts)
        Ten Round Burst on 1D4 Target (Costs 1 attack): 1D6 (2D6 for both mounts)
        Thirty Round Burst on One Target (Costs 1 attack): 1D6x10 (2D6x10 for both mounts)
        Thirty Round Burst on 1D8 Target (Costs 1 attack): 2D6 (4D6 for both mounts)
      Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of pilot (usually 4-6).
      Payload: 600 round each (1200 rounds total)
    2. USA-M31 Rail Gun (2 Maximum): Usually mounted in pairs in the upper hard points and cannot be mounted in lower hard points. This rail gun is carried on a variety of vehicles and is from the original Pre-Rifts SAMAS design. It has fewer bursts and is heavier but the rail gun inflicts more damage than the later C-40R.
      Maximum Effective Range: 4,000 feet (1,200 meters)
      Mega-Damage: A burst of 40 rounds does 1D6x10 (2D6x10 for both mounts), a single round does 1D4+1
      Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of pilot (usually 4-6).
      Payload: 1,000 round drum each for 25 bursts (2,000 between two mounts)
    3. AGL-40 Automatic Grenade Launcher (2 Maximum):Usually mounted in pairs in the upper hard points and cannot be mounted in lower hard points. Weapon is of limited usefulness against fast targets although is devastating against lightly armored ground targets. Weapon is similar to the post Rifts WI-GL21 Automatic Grenade Launcher but fires a slightly smaller round.
      Maximum Effective Range: 3,000 feet (914 meters)
      Mega-Damage: 3D6 for Fragmentation with a blast area of 12 ft and 5D6 for Armor Piercing with a blast area of 3 ft, burst of 10 rounds does 2D4x10 for Fragmentation with a blast area of 40 ft and 2D6x10 for Armor Piercing with a blast area of 8 ft. (Double damages when both grenade launchers are being fired together)
      Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of pilot (usually 4-6).
      Payload: 200 rounds each (400 between two mounts)
    4. Mini-Missile Launchers (2 Maximum): Usually mounted in pairs in the lower hard points and cannot be mounted in upper hard points. The launchers are normally used for ground strafing, anti-troop, and anti-emplacement attacks. Normal missile used are armor piercing, plasma, or fragmentation mini-missiles.
      Maximum Effective Range: Varies with missile types, mini-missiles only (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Mega-Damage: Varies with missile types, mini-missiles only (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Rate of Fire: Each launcher can fire missiles one at a time or in volleys of two (2) per launcher [four (4) mini-missiles with both firing together.]
      Payload: Each launcher carries five (5) mini-missile for a total of ten (10) mini-missiles.
    5. Missiles: The helicopters can carry normal missiles on both its upper and lower hard points. It cannot carry full length medium range missiles but is instead limited to a "shortened" version of medium range missiles. These carry the same warhead but have a range of only around ten miles. For short range missiles, usually higher speed "Anti-Air" Missiles are carried. A single “Short” Medium Range Missile or a pair of short range missiles can be carried per hard point.
      Maximum Effective Range: Short Range Missiles: Varies by short range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details - SAM style missiles normally.) “Short” Medium Range Missiles: 10 miles (16 km)
      Mega-Damage: Short Range Missiles: Varies by short range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details - SAM style missiles normally.) “Short” Medium Range Missiles: As per medium range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
      Rate of Fire: Short Range Missiles: One at a time or in volleys of two (2) or four (4). “Short” Medium Range Missiles: One at a time or in volleys of two (2).
      Payload: Short Range Missiles: Two (2) per hard point for a maximum of eight (8) missiles. “Short” Medium Range Missiles: One (1) per hard point for a maximum of four (4) missiles.
  2. One (1) Anti-Missile Chaff Dispenser: Located at the very tail of the aircraft are two chaff dispensers. When tailed by a missile, a cloud of chaff and other obtrusive particles can be released to confuse or detonate the enemy's attack. Rifts Earth decoys systems are assumed to not operate against Phase World missiles due to technological difference. Reduce effects by 20% against smart missiles (Add +20% to rolls for smart missiles.)
    Effect:
      01-50 Enemy missile or missile volley detonates in chaff cloud - Missiles are all destroyed.
      51-75 Enemy missile or missile volley loses track of real target and veers away in wrong direction (May lock onto another target.)
      76-00 No effect, enemy missile or missile volley is still on target.
    Also note that the chaff cloud will also blind flying monsters that fly through cloud. They will suffer the following penalties: reduce melee attacks/actions, combat bonuses, and speed by half. Duration: 1D4 melee rounds.
    Payload: Eight (8)


Special Equipment:
Most military versions of the helicopter carry the listed systems although some stripped versions reduce the number of systems. These helicopters do not have the full sensor suit of a power armor or robot vehicle. They also do not mount full life support systems. Mostly only a few special purpose law enforcement units carry the spotlight.




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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).


Copyright © 2010 & 2012, Kitsune. All rights reserved.


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