MD Helicopters is to manufacture a further 12 MD530F Cayuse Warrior scout attack helicopters for the Afghan Air Force (AAF), which has previously taken delivery of a similar number of the type. The firm fixed price contract, announced by the company on January 11, was placed through the US Department of the Army Non-Standard Rotary Wing office.
The additional helicopters will feature enhanced mission equipment, although precise details have not been specified. MD Helicopters delivered the first 12 MD 530Fs to the AAF in support of the 2015 fighting season. They were operational in theatre less than nine months from contract award and have already participated in a number of successful operations. In addition, five other MD 530F helicopters, already serving as primary training aircraft in Afghanistan, have also been upgraded to the Cayuse Warrior configuration.
“The MD 530F has played an integral role in building the capabilities of the Afghan Air Force and the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces since the first aircraft arrived in Shindand in 2011,” said Lynn Tilton, Chief Executive Officer for MD Helicopters. “In both training and combat configurations, the fleet has consistently maintained a mission launch rate of greater than 97%. This reliability – coupled with ease of operation, proven close air support and close air attack capabilities – stands as a testament to the legacy of this iconic airframe.”
As with the 16 MD530F Cayuse Warriors currently with the AAF, the mission equipment package on the new helicopters includes: Rhode & Schwarz M3AR tactical radio communications solution, Aviatech tactical communication antennas, DillonAero Mission Configurable Aircraft System (MCAS) and fixed-forward sighting system, Kinetic Defense ballistic armour panels, FN HMP400 .50 caliber gun pods from FN Herstal and 2.75in rocket capability.
The 12 new Cayuse Warrior Scout Attack helicopters will be delivered in time for the 2016 fighting season. “We are extremely proud of the Cayuse Warrior’s performance during the 2015 fighting season,” Tilton concluded. “We are honoured to have been selected, once again, to deliver this enhanced aerial fires capability to the U.S Army and Afghan Air Force.” Alan Warnes