MD Helicopters (MDHI) on Monday announced the delivery of five MD530F Cayuse Warrior helicopters to the Afghan Air Force (AAF) in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The aircraft are the first to be delivered under a $1.4 billion indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract awarded to MDHI by the U.S. Army in September 2017.
MDHI completed the delivery on Aug. 8, less than 10 months after the contract award, and will deliver 25 more 530Fs to the AAF by September 2019. The IDIQ contract estimates that a total 150 MD aircraft — armed MD530F Cayuse Warriors and MD530G attack helicopters — will be delivered to U.S. and partner nation military aviation forces by September 2022.
“The MD 530F Cayuse Warrior has played a critical role in creating an effective, efficient, and sustainable air force in Afghanistan,” said Lynn Tilton, Chief Executive Officer for MD Helicopters. “It has been a proven performer in support of training and combat operations since joining the Afghan fleet, and has evolved to become the standard for light scout attack helicopter solutions worldwide.”
In 2015, Afghan Air Force Col. Qalandar Shah Qalandari criticized the 530F, claiming that its tail rotor, performance limitations and weapons systems were inadequate for Kabul's high-elevation terrain (Rotor & Wing International | Oct. 1, 2015). Since then, MDHI has added several features to the Cayuse Warrior, including a recently FAA certified glass cockpit, Howell Instruments Electronic Engine Instruments and Crew Alert System (EICAS), Garmin G500[H] TXi Electronic Flight Instruments (EFIS), Garmin GTN 650 Touchscreen NAV/COM/GPS, L-3 ESI 500 Electronic Standby Instrument, and a ballistically tolerant crashworthy fuel system.