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Update: MD Helicopters to consolidate military platform offerings

Seen in Afghan Air Force service before the fall of Kabul to the Taliban in 2021, the MD 530F Cayuse Warrior will be the basis of MD Helicopters' future sales campaign for new military customers. (US Air Force)

MD Helicopters (MDH) is to consolidate the different platforms it had previously marketed to military customers, focusing instead on upgraded MD 500 and new-build MD 530 airframes only.

During an interview with Janes on 2 March, company CEO Brad Pedersen said that the consolidation would see MDH cease to develop and market military variants MD 902 and MD 6XX, instead looking to offer upgraded MD 500Es to existing customers and new-build MD 530F Cayuse Warriors to new customers.

Having taken on the role of CEO as part of a wider change in ownership and leadership of MDH in September 2022, Pedersen said this airframe consolidation is part of a move to stabilise existing relationships with customers and suppliers, and to re-gain trust in the short-term to attract new customers.

“Our immediate focus is to dramatically improve customer support, foster strong supplier relationships, and implement an aggressive aircraft sales plan,” Pedersen said, adding that no final decisions on the company's platform portfolio had been made.

In terms of the platforms no longer to be marketed, Pedersen said that, while the MD 902 “is not dead”, any future demand would need to be weighed against the cost of reopening the production line, which was previously in Mexico, but the tooling for which has been relocated back to Mesa in Arizona. Pedersen acknowledged that an armed twin-engine helicopter is “not even on our radar at this stage”.

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