Air Platforms

MDHI offers single- and twin-engined helicopters for Australian SOF role

11 July 2019

The single-engined MD 530G is the latest variant of the venerable Little Bird helicopter series, and is one of three types that MDHI has submitted to Australia for its special forces requirement. Source: MDHI

MD Helicopters Inc (MDHI) has confirmed to Jane's that it is to bid for one single-engined and two twin-engined helicopter types for Australia's special forces requirement.

Responding to a request for information on 10 July, a company representative said that it has submitted its single-engined MD 530G light-attack and observation helicopter for Australia's Land 2097 Phase 4 requirement, as well as its twin-engined MD 902 and MD 969 rotorcraft.

Australia's Land 2097 Phase 4 requirement is to airlift up to four special operations helicopters aboard a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III strategic transport aircraft for rapid forward deployment.

Developed from the Hughes Model 369 that was adapted into the military OH-6 Cayuse scout helicopter during the Vietnam War, the MD 530G is the latest variant of the venerable 'Little Bird' that MDHI has developed. It features a four-station weapons plank, external bench seating for four special forces soldiers, a 'glass' cockpit, and comes with a chin-mounted L-3 Wescam MX-10D electro-optic/infrared sensor and target designator. Weapons include 7.62 mm and 12.7 mm machine guns, 70 mm rockets, and AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles.

Performance figures released by MDHI give the MD 530G a maximum cruise speed of 110 kt; a maximum range of 574 km (this can be increased with auxiliary tanks); a maximum gross weight of 1,700 kg and a useful load of 780 kg; a service ceiling of 16,000 ft; a hover in ground effect of 14,400 ft; and a hover out of ground effect of 14,000 ft.

The MD 530G has already been selected by the armed forces of both Lebanon and Malaysia.

Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options at

(287 of 864 words)