U.S. military orders 150 MD 530F high-altitude, hot-weather light helicopters for Afghanistan

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – The U.S. government is continuing the military resupply of Afghanistan, with an order Tuesday for 150 MD 530F utility light helicopters, which are designed for high-altitude flight in hot-weather conditions.

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REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – The U.S. government is continuing the military resupply of Afghanistan, with an order last week for 150 MD 530F utility light helicopters, which are designed for high-altitude flight in hot-weather conditions.

Officials of the U.S. Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., announced a $1.4 billion contract to MD Helicopters Inc. in Mesa, Ariz., for 150 MD 530F helicopters and support services. The multipurpose armed helicopter enhances scout attack, armed escort, and close air attack capabilities of the Afghan air force.

In late August the Army announced a $2.2 billion contract to AM General LLC in South Bend, Ind., for as many as 11,560 High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) expanded capacity vehicles (ECV) for Afghanistan and other U.S. military allies.

The MD Helicopters MD 530F is a hot and high version of the MD 500E light helicopter. The rotorcraft has a one- or two-person crew and carry as many as five people. It can fly as fast as 152 knots, as far as 323 nautical miles without refueling, and as high as 18,700 feet. The helicopter has been certified for flight since 1985.

The MD 530F has a modernized instrumentation and avionics cockpit with a Garmin G500 suite that includes a multi-function and primary flight displays and an engine indicating and crew alerting system (EICAS). The helicopter can carry a .50 caliber machine gun, as well as four external weapons stations.

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Its next-generation electronic flight instrumentation system will work with additional equipment such as a GTN650 GPS, navigation, communications, and automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B).

The helicopter has a five-blade main rotor and a two-blade tail rotor. The teardrop-shaped fuselage is made of aluminum alloy, and its airframe includes doors for the pilot, copilot, and passenger area on both sides. Doors are removable.

The helicopter's high-altitude-lift capability comes from main-rotor blades that are six inches longer than the MD 500E. The tail boom is extended and the tail rotor blades are lengthened for increased thrust and directional control at high altitudes.

On this contract MD Helicopters will do the work at several locations, and should be finished by August 2022. For more information contact MD Helicopters online at www.mdhelicopters.com, or the Army Contracting Command-Redstone at http://acc.army.mil/contractingcenters/acc-rsa.

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