U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) has long used the MH-6 (and the AH-6) version of the 1960s era OH-6 for a variety of missions. In the 1970s a civilian version, the MD-500, was introduced and this went on to sell about ten times as many helicopters as the original. Nearly 5,000 MD-500 type helicopters have been built and they are particularly popular with police everywhere and military users outside the United States. SOCOM has been particularly fond of this lightweight (under two tons) helicopter because it is so easy to modify.
SOCOM currently uses about fifty MH-6Ms and has decided to stick with the MH-6M and back off spending any money on developing a new light transport/attack helicopter. The MH-6 manufacturer is already turning out upgrades and these include more powerful engines, additional sensors and fire control systems as well as the ability to use new types of guided missiles. The most recent military MD-500 model is the MD-530F which has a new fire control system that can handle two rocket pods each with a seven 70mm rockets each.