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.
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