Monday, 9 October 2017

MD 530F Cayuse Warrior Helicopter

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.

OH-6 Cayuse light observation helicopter

OH-6 Cayuse light observation helicopter

The teardrop-shaped Hughes OH-6 Cayuse is a compact helicopter with low drag coefficient. Nicknamed the Flying Egg it can perform fast and difficult maneuvers. It can fly near the earth, at a very low altitude and at high speed. One of the most important features is its quietness.

   The OH-6 made its first flight in 1963. The Cayuse was publicly introduced in 1966 and set several records, including record for endurance, speed and rate of climb. In 1966 it entered military service with the US Army. Many Cayuses have been exported. Since 1968 this helicopter saw combat in Vietnam. The OH-6 helicopters served in huge numbers and were used for light observation and utility roles. The Cayuse was used alongside the AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters, forming hunter killer teams. It could accomplish missions that bigger, slower and louder helicopters couldn’t do. Under enemy fire this nimble machine had to flew low to the ground, just above the tree-trops. Once enemy opened fire at Cayuse, they were destroyed by mighty firepower of escorting Cobras. Pilots called this helicopter as the Loach.

   Even when this helicopter was shot down, it refused to crack. In the event of a crash the tailboom and engine separate from the egg-like cabin, improving the survival chances of the crew and passengers.

   The Cayuse can be armed with various weapons, including 7.62 mm Miniguns, Mk.19 automatic grenade launchers, pods with 12.7 mm machine guns, pods with Hydra 70 mm unguided rockets, TOW and Hellfire anti-tank guided missiles. Weapon load depends on the helicopter version.

  The OH-6 has a crew of two and accommodates two more passengers. During the war in Vietnam Cayuse took many roles, including observation, personal transport, escort, causally evacuation and light attack missions. Since 1972 heavily modified helicopters were also used by the secret intelligence agency. In order to reduce noise levels even more the 4-blade rotor system was replaced by a 5-blade rotor. Exhaust systems was also modified. Two of these helicopters were deployed from the base in Southern Laos. Source:

Technical Specifications


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.



MD Helicopters, Inc. (MDHI) was recently awarded a firm fixed price contract to manufacture and deliver twelve (12) MD 530F aircraft for the Afghan Air Force. This is an Option award to the Department of the Army Non–Standard Rotary Wing (NSRW) Aircraft Contract for provision of Primary Training Aircraft (PTA). The exercise of this Option is a reinforcement of the U. S. Army’s confidence in MD Helicopters’ ability to deliver reliable, mission-ready aircraft, training, logistics and support to the United States Military and our Allies.  

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.

MD Helicopters delivers first six MD 530F Armed Scouts to Afghanistan: Here


MD Helicopters has announced the arrival of the first six armed MD 530F Cayuse Warrior Scout Attack Helicopters to the Afghan Air Force in Kabul, Afghanistan. Delivered within six months from the October 2014 award, MDHI has solidified its position as a world leader in near-term delivery of light single-engine gunships, custom-configured, to meet the emergent and ongoing mission requirements of U.S. and Allied forces. 

Final MD 530Fs of Follow-On Contract Arrive in Afghanistan: Here

Airmen unload one of final four MD 530F Cayuse Warriors for Afghanistan from a C-17 airlifter on August 25. (Photo: U.S. Air Force)

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.

 .50cal FN M3P machine gun

The FN® M3P is a .50-caliber (12.7x99mm) single-barrel high rate-of-fire machine gun optimized for remote firing from aircraft, ground vehicles and naval craft and provides both offensive and defensive firepower ranging out to nearly 1,850 meters. When used in various applications, the FN® M3P is able to engage light armored vehicles and provide suppressive fire against both ground and aerial threats. Additionally, the FN® M3P is suitable for applications in remote weapon stations and is able to fire at all elevations up to 90 degrees from horizontal.

Features unique to the FN® M3P are the 28V electrical interfaces that allow remote firing and clearing of the weapon system, as well as allowing the operator to remotely place the weapon on safe. Depending on configuration, the FN® M3P can be mounted in pods or on FN’s deFNder® Medium.

  • CALIBER: .50
  • WEIGHT: 80.5 lb.
  • MAXIMUM RANGE: 6,500m
  • OVERALL LENGTH: 66.1” (with short standard flash hider); 70.9” (with long standard flash hider)
  • TWIST RATE: 1:15” RH
Solid steel frame for durability
Dual buffer system provides twice the rate of fire as the M2 system
Recoil buffer system for increased accuracy with reduced wear and vibration
Hammer-forged steel
Useful barrel life of 10,000 rounds for simplified logistics and service requirements
Enhanced flash hider offers reduced firing signature to increase compatibility with current night vision equipment
Perforated barrel jacket for improved cooling and longer barrel life
The FN® M3P machine gun to be operated from aircraft and remote weapon stations
The FN® M3P is designed to be mounted in pods for fixed-wing aircraft and in fixed-forward firing mounts for helicopters


"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.

FN HMP400 Pod

FN has developed a broad spectrum of machine gun pods designed for rotary-wing and subsonic fixed-wing combat aircraft capable of carrying the FN® M3P .50-caliber machine gun and multiple 2.75″ air-to-ground rockets with the FN® RMP variant. FN Pod Systems provide war fighters with a significant firepower advantage in every operational engagement and are in use by a number of NATO nations on both subsonic fixed and rotary-wing combat aircraft.

  • CALIBER: .50
  • MAG CAPACITY: Customer Specified
  • WEIGHT (EMPTY): 197 lb.
  • WEIGHT (LOADED): 305 lb.
  • HEIGHT: 17.1"
  • LENGTH: 76.4"
  • RATE OF FIRE: 950 - 1,100 RPM
Pods accept one FN® M3P .50-caliber machine gun
Soft mount and elastic cradle reduce weapon firing vibration and shock
Recocking device and round counter on pilot’s firing control panel
Pod is capable of emergency jettison from the aircraft
Firing solenoid as well as safety and cocking device
Certified by the U.S. Army in 1987
.75 Mach capability

Reversible and allows feeding from the left or right side.
Design guarantees smooth movement of the ammunition belt with no risk of jamming or fouling because of aircraft maneuvers or acceleration.
FN pod featuring a 400-round ammo box and links and cases collector
The recoil forces that occur when the weapon is fired can be a source of structural fatigue on the carrier aircraft and can also reduce the precision of the gun. In FN’s pod, the machine gun is fitted on a soft mount that absorbs the recoil forces.


M260 Rocket Pod with 2.75” rockets


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.

This Afghan Air Force MD-530 pictured 11 August flying over Forward Operating Base Connelly in Nangarhar province was supporting of Operation Iron Triangle. US Army

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. (Note: It seems MD 500F model features analogue instruments)

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

Rhode & Schwarz M3AR tactical radio communications solution

R&S®M3AR Software Defined Radios

VHF/UHF Transceiver Family for Airborne Communications
Key Facts
  • Frequency range from 30 MHz to 400 MHz
  • Compact and lightweight with high transmit power (up to 20 W in AM mode and up to 30 W in FM mode)
  • Approved for jet and propeller aircraft as well as helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles
  • Embedded NATO or R&S®SECOS encryption
  • Suitable for communications with military and civil air traffic control (e.g. 8.33 kHz channel spacing or offset carrier receive operation)
Brief Description
The software defined, multiband-capable airborne transceivers of the R&S®M3AR family feature a modular design and state-of-the-art technology. This leads to high MTBF values and a long life. The compact and lightweight transceivers offer high performance, making them suitable for operation in all types of aircraft, including unmanned aerial vehicles. Different waveforms are available, which can be installed at any time to provide interoperability in a variety of operational scenarios.

The R&S®M3AR family is the product of decades of experience, especially in the design and development of airborne radio equipment and software defined radio technology. The R&S®M3AR multiband, multimode, multirole radio is the solution of choice for the reliable transmission of mission-critical information, whether it's for jet or propeller aircraft, helicopters or unmanned aerial vehicles.

Rohde & Schwarz satisfies the most demanding requirements of a multitude of airborne platforms. The R&S®M3AR transceivers are in operation around the world and feature high reliability even under extreme environmental conditions. The outstanding MTBF values ensure low maintenance effort and high availability.

A variety of optional EPM (ECCM) methods are available. For instance, the R&S®SECOS frequency hopping method with integrated encryption can be installed in parallel with HAVE QUICK I/II.

The R&S®M3AR family consists of the R&S®MR6000A in an ARINC 600 housing and the R&S®MR6000R/ R&S®MR6000L, both of which are ARC-164 form & fit compatible. The R&S®MR6000L is equipped with a local control panel while the R&S®MR6000R is remote-controlled. All R&S®M3AR radios can be remote-controlled via the MIL‑STD-1553B data bus, as well as by the R&S®GB6500 control unit. The R&S®MR6000R or R&S®MR6000L can serve as a form, fit and function (F3) replacement for legacy AN/ARC-164 radios.


Garmin GTN 650H communication/navigation/global positioning system (COM/NAV/GPS)


MD 530F Cayuse Warrior Helicopter -

MD 530G scout attack helicopter: Details

MD 530G scout attack helicopter



For military variants, see McDonnell Douglas MD 500 Defender and Hughes OH-6 Cayuse Source:

Operators MD 500: Here

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.

Rolls-Royce 250-C30 turboshaft engine

The M250 turboshaft engines are of two-shaft modular design featuring a two-stage LP turbine, two-stage HP turbine, and a gearbox with 6,000rpm output. Compressed air is routed to the aft end of the engine for combustion, with exhaust gases exit from the middle.

The Series II features four to six-stage axial and single-stage centrifugal compressors with a hydromechanical fuel control system. The larger Series IV family is identical in layout, but has a single-stage centrifugal rather than an axial/centrifugal compressor.

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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