Four Afghan Air Force pilots training on the MD 530F helicopter at the Rotary Wing Flight Training Program in Shindand, Afghanistan, prepare for an extended cross country flight. In Autumn 2012 these pilots were the first to graduate from a pilot training program held in their country in more than 30 years (Image © US Army)

Afghanistan orders dozen Little Birds

Four Afghan Air Force pilots training on the MD 530F helicopter at the Rotary Wing Flight Training Program in Shindand, Afghanistan, prepare for an extended cross country flight. In Autumn 2012 these pilots were the first to graduate from a pilot training program held in their country in more than 30 years (Image © US Army)
Four Afghan Air Force pilots training on the MD 530F helicopter at the Rotary Wing Flight Training Program in Shindand, Afghanistan, prepare for an extended cross country flight. In Autumn 2012 these pilots were the first to graduate from a pilot training program held in their country in more than 30 years (Image © US Army)

MD Helicopters was recently awarded a contract to manufacture and deliver twelve MD 530F helicopters for the Afghan Air Force, on top of six already delivered in 2011. The first new helicopters should arrive in Afghanistan in 2015.

Since the first MD helicopters arrived in Shindand in 2011, Afghan pilots have logged more than 5,700 hours flying the MD 530F. Equipped with the 650 shp Rolls Royce 250-C30 engine and longer main-rotor blades, the MD 530F is a reliable high-altitude, hot-day performer, suited for the conditions found in the Afghan theater, according to its manufacturer.

A popular nickname for the military version of the MD 500 series in American service, the OH-6 Cayuse, is Little Bird. The MD 530F is based on that machine.

Source: MD Helicopters / US Army