MD 530G is a next-generation armed scout-attack helicopter developed by MD Helicopters. It is designed to provide enhanced agility and firepower for the armed forces.
The armed aerial scout helicopter can be deployed with any rotary-wing unit to provide a comprehensive battlefield command-and-control coordination for the successful execution of attack, reconnaissance and security missions.
The helicopter was unveiled at the Helicopter International Association conference and exhibition (Heli-Expo) held in Anaheim, US, in February 2014. It successfully fired 0.50 calibre and 7.62mm ammunition, and four Raytheon TALON laser-guided rockets during live-fire qualification exercise at Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona, in August 2014.
Orders and deliveries
MD Helicopters was selected by Malaysia’s Ministry of Defence to supply six MD 530G helicopters to the Malaysian Army Aviation in February 2016. The company selected CTRM Aviation as the exclusive authorised service centre to support the entry of six MD 530G helicopters into the Malaysian Army Aviation in April 2016.
The US Government announced its commitment to provide six MD 530G light attack helicopters, associated equipment and training to support the Lebanese Armed Forces’ rotary-wing close-air-support missions in December 2017.
The US Army Contracting Command awarded a $1.4bn contract for six armed MD 530G helicopters in October 2018. Scheduled to be delivered to the Lebanon Air Force (LAF) by the fourth quarter of 2020, the helicopters will be equipped with two Genesys Aerosystems IDU-680 LCD primary displays, Tek Fusion Global’s PATHFINDER™ mission management system (MMS), and Harris Falcon III RF-7850A-MR multi-channel airborne networking radios.
MD Helicopters partnered with Elbit Systems to provide the advanced weapons and mission management capabilities to MD 530G Block II (BII) helicopter in December 2019.
The new MD 530G Block II (BII) helicopter with advanced avionics system was first displayed at the Helicopter Association International Heli-Expo held in Anaheim, in January 2020.
MD 530G design and features The MD 530G armed aerial scout helicopter is designed based on the MD 530F airframe and is engineered with advanced technology to deliver enhanced combat capabilities. It offers efficient and effective performance in adverse conditions.
The Armed Aerial Scout 72X (AAS-72X), an advanced derivative of UH-72A light utility helicopter (LUH), is being offered for the Armed Aerial Scout (AAS) programme of the US Army.
The helicopter is 7.76m long and 3m wide and has an overall height of 2.88m. It has five main rotor blades and two tail rotor blades. The main rotor diameter is 8.38m, while the tail rotor diameter is 1.55m. The helicopter has an empty weight of 885kg, maximum internal gross weight of 1,520kg and maximum take-off gross weight of 1,701kg. It can carry an increased useful load of 816kg to operate with additional range and endurance.
MD 530G weapon systems
The helicopter is equipped with Raytheon’s 70mm TALON laser-guided rocket to provide precision engagement and firepower capabilities against soft and lightly armoured point targets. The rocket features a laser guidance kit incorporating digital semi-active laser seeker, a three-axis control actuation system, guidance electronics, and the TALON roll-optimising tail-fin assembly.
A Heavy Machine Gun Pod (HMP-400) developed by FN Herstal is mounted in a 14in Nato standard bomb rack on the helicopter. It features a 12.7mm FN M3P machine gun with a rate of fire of around 1,100 rounds per minute. The helicopter is also equipped with a Rocket Machine Gun Pod (RMP), which is effective against both guided and unguided rockets. The RMP combines a 12.7mm FN M3P machine gun and Nato Standard 70mm three-tube rocket launcher into a single weapons mount. The machine gun can store up to 250 cartridges.
The helicopter is fitted with Dillon Aero’s 7.62mm M134D-H (Hybrid) mini Gatling gun that can store up to 3,000 rounds of ammo magazine. It also features an Arnold Defense M260 seven-shot rocket pod.
The third-generation, 24.2lb Moog Weapon Stores Management System (SMS) is installed to manage and control the helicopter’s weapon systems. It consists of a Stores Management Computer (SMC), two Stores Interface Units (SIUs), two Lightweight Rocket Interface Units (RIUs), a Multi-Function Display (MFD), and a Stores Control Panel (SCP). The MFD and SCPs are installed on the cockpit panel, while the other systems are incorporated in the cargo compartment.
The helicopter is also configured with a lightweight Mace Extended Range Weapons Wing (ER2W) with four-station weapons mounting structure. It can carry more than 1,300lb of weapons and ammunition.
Sensors on-board MD 530G
The MD 530G armed aerial scout helicopter is equipped with combat-proven L-3 Wescam MX-10 and MX-10D EO / IR tactical surveillance systems in a single line replaceable unit (LRU) configuration. The payload incorporates multiple infrared imaging sensors, precision optics, laser designator, and an advanced communications suite.
The infrared, colour HD and electron-multiplied Charge Coupled Device (CCD) imaging sensors are used to capture simultaneous full-motion digital video and high-resolution imagery.
The 43lb multi-spectral targeting system features a built-in embedded GPS inertial navigation system to provide high-accuracy geo-point and geolocation capabilities. It is equipped with four-axis stabilisation with vibration isolation to support laser designation of more than 10km.
A Scorpion Helmet-mounted cueing system, developed by Thales, is also fitted to the helicopter.
MD 530G engine and performance
The MD 530G scout attack helicopter is powered by a Rolls-Royce 250-C30 engine, which generates a power output of 485kW.
The helicopter can fly at a maximum cruise speed of 240km/h at sea level under international standard atmospheric conditions. It has a maximum permitted speed of 282km/h at sea level and can fly to a range of 426km. The MD 530G can operate for two and a half hours with an auxiliary fuel tank.
The helicopter is also installed with a ballistic tolerant crashworthy fuel system, which includes both main and auxiliary tanks.MD 530G BII
The MD 530G BII helicopter features pilot-friendly integrated weapons system (IWS), which includes a helmet display and tracking system (HDTS), weapons management system (WMS) and mission management system (MMS).
The HDTS supports both day and night operations and allows the pilot to easily manoeuvre the helicopter into attack positions and lock targets heads-up and eyes out.
The WMS has enhanced the helicopter’s capability to carry diverse precise strike weapons and suppressive fire munitions including a twin Hellfire launcher, and two M134 7.62mm mini guns.
The MMS includes digital mapping application (DMAP), which is managed by a touch screen graphical user interface (GUI). It enhances the situational awareness of the pilot with aircraft positions.