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Update: MDH to deliver new, upgraded MD 530F helos to Middle Eastern customer

MD Helicopters is to deliver six new and six upgraded MD 530F CWP helicopters to an undisclosed Middle Eastern customer. (MDH)

MD Helicopters (MDH) has been contracted to deliver new and upgraded MD 530F Cayuse Warrior Plus (CWP) light attack helicopters to an undisclosed Middle Eastern customer.

The award announced earlier in August covers six new helicopters and ‘glass cockpit' upgrades to six already delivered helicopters, with deliveries of all 12 to commence in 2024.

Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia are Middle Eastern countries that operate the MD 530F. MDH confirmed to Janes that Lebanon is not the recipient of this contract, but did not say who the customer is.

The Royal Jordanian Air Force operates six older model MD 530Fs that it has been looking to augment/replace, previously signing a letter of intent with Boeing for its AH-6i variant of the same helicopter but never following through with a contract. Lebanon received six MD 530F+ (now designated CWP) helicopters in 2021, losing one in an accident in early 2022. The Saudi Air National Guard and the Royal Saudi Land Forces operate 12 MD 530Fs each.

The MD 530F CWP is well-suited to those countries requiring a rotary-winged strike platform, but which are unable to match the high procurement, operating, and sustainment costs of a dedicated attack platform such as the Boeing AH-64E Apache. The single-engined helicopter provides proven capability in a relatively cheap package, costing less to procure (an estimated USD5–10 million compared with upwards of USD40 million for a dedicated attack helicopter) and being substantially cheaper to operate (USD500 per hour compared with about USD10,000 per hour for a dedicated attack helicopter).

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