As Afghanistan struggles to build up its aerial attack capability, it seems like less is more for the embattled country’s air arm. Case in point: their MD530F Cayuse Warrior (AKA Little Bird in the American spec-ops world) light air support helicopters.

The type’s origins can be traced back to the Vietnam era OH-6 “Loach” scout helicopter. Today, the design is offered in various configurations featuring a wide range of levels of advancement. This includes commercial models that offer light utility capabilities up to the potent and technology-packed AH-6i, the most capable military variant that’s getting good traction on the export market. Afghanistan’s relatively simple MD530F Cayuse Warrior model falls somewhere in between. It’s more gunship than anti-tank, missile-slinging night fighter, and that’s probably a good thing considering Afghanistan’s challenges when it comes to standing up its air arm with high-tech equipment. Still, these aircraft have their critics, some of which are within Afghanistan’s air arm itself.

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