Saudi Arabian National Guard AH-6i Light Attack Helicopter Crashes in Riyadh Killing American Trainer

An AH-6i light attack and reconnaissance helicopter, operated by the Saudi Arabian National Guard, crashed at the Khashm Al-An Airport in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, killing an American trainer and injuring a Saudi trainee.

A report by the state-run Saudi Press Agency identified the American as Paul Reidy. It added that the trainee, a Saudi national named Hisham bin Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh, was transferred to a local hospital and was in stable condition.

The helicopter crashed under unknown circumstances during a training exercise and the National Guard said that an investigation into the crash had begun.

Reidy graduated from Lockport High School in Chicago’s southwest suburbs in 1985 and joined the armed in 1988, family said. He was an Apache helicopter pilot and served in Operation Iraqi Freedom before serving four tours of duty in South Korea prior to his final mission in Saudi Arabia. He was based out of Fort Rucker in Alabama.

He is survived by his wife Jennifer, his son Austin who is an active Chinook Army pilot, his daughter and his son-in law, who is also an active Blackhawk pilot in Germany, and three grandchildren.

Boeing AH-6i is a light attack and reconnaissance helicopter manufactured by Boeing and designed primarily for export markets.

The single-turbine helicopter is based on the combat-proven OH-6A Cayuse and is an advanced variant of the AH-6M helicopter operated by the U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC).

AH-6i incorporates advanced technologies from the Boeing AH-64E Apache multirole attack helicopter that give it superior performance over other aircraft in its class. The helicopter is intended to provide close-air support for land-based forces and serve as an attack platform for destroying tanks, armored vehicles and fortifications.

In October 2010, Saudi Arabia requested 36 AH-6i aircraft with related equipment and weapons from the United States through a Foreign Military Sale (FMS) route.

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