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The MH-6 Little Bird, and its attack variant, the AH-6, are single-engine light helicopters used for special operations aviation in the United States Army. Originally based on a modified OH-6A, it was later based on the MD 500E, with a single five-bladed main rotor. This agile, unarmed helicopter is outfitted with outboard "benches" designed to ferry up to three commandos on each side. There is also an attack variant, the AH-6. Painted black for nighttime operations, this small aircraft can conduct rapid insertions and extractions of special operations forces into areas its larger brother, the MH-60 Black Hawk, cannot. The AH/MH-6J is an improved Special Forces transport and attack versions. Updated light attack helicopter based on the MD 530MG and equipped with an improved engine, FLIR, and a GPS/inertial navigation system. The 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) is a special operations unit of the United States Army that provides helicopter aviation support for general purpose forces and Special Operations Forces. Its missions have included attack, assault, and reconnaissance, and are usually conducted at night, at high speeds, low altitudes, and on short notice. The 160th SOAR is headquartered at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The 160th SOAR (A) is also known as the Night Stalkers and their motto is Night Stalkers Don't Quit.The unit was officially established on 16 October 1981, when it was designated as the 160th Aviation Battalion. In 1986, it was re-designated as the 160th Aviation Group (Airborne); in May 1990, the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne). The 160th SOAR(A) consist of a Headquarters located at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The 1st and 2nd Battalions are located at Ft. Campbell as well. The 3rd Battalion is located at Hunter Army Air Field, Georgia and the 4th Battalion is located at Fort Lewis, Washington.The 160th first saw combat during 1983's Operation Urgent Fury, the U.S. invasion of Grenada. In 1987 and 1988, its pilots took part in Operation Earnest Will, the protection of re-flagged Kuwaiti tankers in the Persian Gulf during the Iran–Iraq War. In June 1988, the unit executed Operation Mount Hope III. The Night Stalkers spearheaded Operation Just Cause, the 1989 invasion of Panama, and they were also used in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. In October 1993 in Somalia, Night Stalkers became involved in the Battle of Mogadishu, which later became the subject of the book Black Hawk Down. The Night Stalkers have been called upon for numerous missions throughout the first decade of the 21st Century.
January 26th, 2013
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