With this delivery MD Helicopters has fulfilled – in less than 10 months – all requirements of an October 2015 contract awarded by the U.S. Department of the Army Non-Standard Rotary Wing Program Office for 12 additional aircraft. The total number of armed MD 530F Cayuse Warriors now in service with the Afghan Air Force (AAF) is 27.
“The versatility of this aircraft for attack, scout and escort mission has been proven in theater since the first Cayuse Warriors arrived in Kabul in 2015,” said Lynn Tilton, Chief Executive Officer of MD Helicopters. “Whether as a primary training helicopter or when delivering a critical fast-attack capability to support the Afghan National Army’s ground fight, the MD 530F Cayuse Warrior plays a significant role in the war on terror, and the protection of both U.S. and Allied forces.”
The Afghan Air Force has been operating the MD 530F as a primary rotary wing training aircraft since 2011. In October 2014, the first 12 MD 530F Cayuse Warrior gunships – featuring two FN Herstal .50 calibre HMP 400 Machine Gun Pods – were ordered to support the 2015 fighting season. These aircraft were delivered to theater within 9 months of the contract award and recorded several successful missions within the first three-months. These gunships continue to perform mission critical exercises and meet or exceed operational expectations.
In January 2016, MD Helicopters announced the contract for an additional 12 Cayuse Warrior helicopters to include an Enhanced Mission Equipment configuration, as well as the retrofit of all previously delivered MD 530Fs. The Enhanced Mission Equipment Package (EMEP) features, an M260 2.75” 7-shot rocket pod, and the DillonAero fixed-forward sight system.
Improved Efficiency, Accuracy and Safety
The capabilities provided by this new mission package allow the warfighter to tailor the configuration of the aircraft to better meet mission needs. With the ability to provide both suppressive fire and precision strike of down range targets, aircrews are able to increase the number of effective rounds on target fired from greater stand-off distances. This functionality minimizes the potential for collateral damage, improving both the leathality of the aircraft and the safety of the aircrew.
VIDEO: As part of MD Helicopters’ integration and testing process, the company conducted a comprehensive series of live-fire weapons & high-altitude qualification exercises for the Enhanced MD 530F Cayuse Warrior at Yuma Proving Grounds, Yuma, Arizona, and Earnest A. Love Field, Prescott, Arizona. A short video documenting this effort can be found here: