Lebanon and Kenya have each ordered six MD 530 light attack helicopters, MD Helicopters said.
Both delivery orders were awarded by U.S. Army Contracting Command under a $1.4 billion contract awarded in September 2017 for up to 150 MD 530 F and G model helicopters for partner forces, the company said, although the U.S. Department of Defense contract notification specifies only MD 530F helicopters for Afghanistan. U.S. Army Contracting Command could not be immediately reached for clarification.
With the two awards and a further 30 helicopters ordered in September 2017 for the Afghan Air Force, nearly 30 percent of the aircraft are in production, the company said. It delivered the first five MD 530F Cayuse Warrior helicopters to the Afghan Air Force in Kandahar on August 8. The company said they were readied for active service in less than 10 days.
Six MD 530G Scout Attack Helicopters for Lebanon
Lebanon’s Air Force ordered six MD 530G Scout Attack Helicopters, MD Helicopters’ most-advanced model, the company said in a Monday, October 1 release.
The firm fixed price delivery order includes initial logistics support, as well as aircraft systems, ground support equipment, and associated services, the release said.
Deliveries are scheduled to be complete by the fourth quarter of 2020.
The MD 530G Scout Attack Helicopter ordered by Lebanon features DillonAero’s Mission Configurable Armament System, which supports up to six weapon stations. It can be configured for Hellfire missiles, M134D miniguns, GAU-19B .50 caliber Gatling guns, FN HMP-400 .50 caliber machine guns, M260 7-round or M261 19-round 2.75-inch rocket launchers and Raytheon’s Griffin B mini-missiles.
The Lebanese aircraft will have FN Herstal .50 caliber HMP-400 machine gun pods, M260 rocket pods, 70mm/2.75-inch APKWS (Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System) rockets, and a WESCAM MX-10D EO/IR laser designator.
In September, General Dynamics was awarded a $44 million contract for Hydra rockets for foreign military sales, including to Lebanon. These unguided 2.75-inch rockets can be fitted with precision guidance systems like the semi-active laser guided Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System.
Lebanon has received significant military equipment from the U.S. in recent months.
In August, Lebanon received eight Bradley Fighting Vehicles. In total, the U.S. was to send 32 M2A2 Bradleys to the country, worth more than $100 million, Ambassador Elizabeth Richard said in August 2017.
In June, four A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft were formally handed over to Lebanon by the U.S., completing an order of six planes. Richard at the time highlighted the “strong bond between the U.S. and Lebanon,” and that over the last decade, the U.S. government has invested over $1.5 billion in training and equipment, and trained over 32,000 Lebanese troops.
Richard said in December that the U.S. was to supply new systems valued at more than $120 million to Lebanon including six MD 530G helicopters, six new Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as communication and night vision devices.
Six MD 530F Cayuse Warrior helicopters for Kenya
The Kenya Defence Forces ordered six MD 530F Cayuse Warrior helicopters, the company said in a September 27 release.
The contract includes initial logistics support, aircraft systems and ground support equipment. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in April 2019 and to be complete by August.
Equipment fitted to Kenya’s MD 530F Cayuse Warriors also includes the DillonAero Mission Configurable Armament System, along with an FN Herstal Weapons Management System, DillonAero Fixed-Forward Sighting System, FN Herstal .50 caliber HMP 400 machine gun pods and M260 7-shot rocket pods.
In June, Kenya was included as a customer in a $149 million U.S. Army contract with General Dynamics for various Hydra 70 rockets for foreign military sales.
The U.S. State Department in May 2017 approved the sale of 12 MD 530F helicopters to replace Kenyas MD 500 aircraft. The proposed $253 million sale included 4,032 M151 high-explosive warhead rockets, 1,536 2.75-inch M274 smoke signature warhead rockets, and 400,000 rounds of .50 caliber ammunition.