MD 530F Cayuse Warrior Helicopter, United States of America


The MD 530F Cayuse Warrior is an armed variant of the OH-6 Cayuse light observation helicopter built by MD Helicopters. The multipurpose armed helicopter enhances scout attack, armed escort and close air attack capabilities of the Afghan Air Force.

The helicopter can be deployed in tactical, reconnaissance and transport operations, as well as carry out airborne law enforcement, executive and personnel transport, air medical services, search-and-rescue (SAR), firefighting and other public safety missions.

Orders and deliveries

The Afghan Air Force deployed MD 530F helicopters in the Rotary Wing Flight Training Programme since 2011. The programme was conducted by the US Army Security Assistance Training Management Organization in Shindand.

The Non-Standard Rotary Wing Aircraft Project Office of the US Army awarded a firm fixed price contract to MD Helicopters in September 2014 to manufacture and deliver an additional 12 MD 530F helicopters to support the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). The first six MD 530Fs were delivered in March 2015, while the remaining helicopters were handed over in summer 2015.

In October 2014, MD Helicopters was awarded a firm fixed price contract worth $44.2m by the US Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal to procure, install, integrate and test Mission Equipment Package (MEP) weapon systems for a total of 17 MD 530F helicopters. The integration and testing was performed at MD Helicopters' facility in Mesa, Arizona.

In March 2015, MD Helicopters was awarded a $31.6m firm fixed-price modification contract to provide maintenance and support services for 12 MD530Fs, which were delivered to the Afghan Air Force (AAF) in 2015.

MD Helicopters received a firm fixed price contract to deliver 12 MD 530F Cayuse Warrior Scout Attack Helicopters to the AAF, in January 2016.

The Armed OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, in service with the US Army, is supplied by Bell Helicopter Textron of Fort Worth, Texas.

MD 530F design, features and accommodation

The MD 530F helicopter features modular design and FAA-certified, high-capacity, extended landing gear. The airframe is attached with tinted doors and windows on the left and right sides.

The main rotor system consists of five fully articulated, foldable blades, while the tail rotor system features two blades. The main rotor diameter is 8.38m and the tail rotor diameter is 1.55m.

The helicopter is 9.8m-long and 2.6m-high, while its main rotor diameter is 8.38m. The empty weight is 722kg and the maximum gross take-off weight is 1,406kg.

The MD 530F can carry a useful load of 684kg and an external load of 979kg, and has a fuel capacity of 183kg. It is equipped with teardrop-shaped fuselage, which measures 7.04m-long and 1.4m-wide. The forward section of the fuselage contains cockpit and cabin compartments, while the lower section houses two fuel cells.

The cabin compartment provides seating for one pilot, one co-pilot and up to three personnel. The crew seats are fitted with four-point restraint harness system, while the passenger seats feature three-point restraint system.

The interior is equipped with fire extinguisher, soundproofing system, map case, instrument lighting, a 17Ah heavy-duty Marathon battery, ventilation system, LH rotor brake, and vinyl and fabric cushions. The interior trim panels feature vinyl material.

The helicopter also features tinted canopy panels, two anti-collision lights, jacking fittings, fuselage hard points, rain gutter set and position lights.

Armament of the MD 530F Cayuse Warrior

The MD 530F Cayuse Warrior helicopter is armed with FN HMP400 LCC (links and case collector) coaxial airborne weapon system developed by FN Herstal. The machine gun pod features .50cal FN M3P machine gun. The weapon system supports all types of 12.7mm x 99mm Nato ammunition rounds.

"The helicopter has a take-off power of 317kW and maximum continuous power of 280kW."

The FN HMP400 has a fully loaded weight of 138kg and ammunition storage capacity of 400 rounds. The weapon system can fire at a rate of around 1,100 rounds a minute.

The helicopter can also be attached with Mace Aviation-developed Extended Range Weapons Wing (ER2W), which has four weapons stations and a 35gal internal fuel tank.

Avionics and communications aboard MD 530F

The MD 530F helicopter features T-shaped instrument panel installed with an avionics suite, Garmin G500H dual-screen flight display, night-vision-goggle (NVG) devices, and dual LH command flight controls.

The Cayuse Warrior helicopter is also equipped with Rhode & Schwarz M3AR tactical radio communications solution with a frequency range from 30MHz to 400MHz.

MD 530F propulsion and performance

The MD 530F helicopter is driven by Rolls-Royce 250-C30 turboshaft engine, which generates a power of 485kW. The helicopter has a take-off power of 317kW and maximum continuous power of 280kW.

The helicopter can fly at a maximum cruise speed of 248km/h and has a maximum range of 430km and service ceiling of 5,700m. It climbs at a rate of 10.5m/s and can endure airborne for more than two hours. The hover-in-ground effect (HIGE) and the hover-out-of-ground effect (HOGE) are 4,877m and 4,389m respectively.

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The Global Military Rotorcraft Market 2011-2021

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