The US Army has received new and renewed interest from allied partner nations in the MD Helicopters, Inc. (MDHI) MD 530 light attack rotorcraft, a service spokesperson told Janes on 17 February.
With the US Army Non-Standard Rotary-Wing Aircraft Project Office (NSRWA PO) currently providing MD 530s to allied nations under a five-year indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) procurement contract awarded to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), the service said that it has lately received interest from several countries to procure new ‘Little Bird’ type helicopters.
“We have interest from several countries to procure new MD 530s, including India, Kenya, and Lebanon,” the army said, adding, “We have two MD 530s on the production line that were originally procured for Afghanistan, but which are currently under a Stop Work order. We are working towards resuming production for Kenya as part of their next aircraft procurement“.
MHDI offers two armed versions of the MD 530 in the MD 530F and MD 530G. Since the IDIQ award was made in July 2017, MD 530Fs have been ordered and/or delivered to Afghanistan, Kenya, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia, with MD 530Gs being delivered to Malaysia. Of the prospective sales now noted by the US Army, India would be a new customer for the helicopter.
The MD 530F variant of the MD 530 has been modified to function in ‘hot and high’ environments, in that it has a more powerful engine compared with the earlier MD 500E as well as longer main and tail rotor blades. A company spokesperson said.