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10:35 AM, November 26, 2019
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Afghan Forces get five new MD-530F Gunships

The Afghan Air Force received five MD-530F attack helicopters from Arizona-based US defense contractor MD Helicopters on November 22.

The rotorcraft were shipped out of Mesa-Gateway Airport, Mesa, Arizona, via Boeing 747 and reached Kandahar on October 27, 2019. The aircraft were reassembled and ready for active service in less than 10 days, the company said in a statement.

With the new delivery, the number of MD-530F training and combat aircraft delivered to the Afghan Air Force has reached 60. The next MD-530F batch will consist of 24 helicopters.

The MD-530F Cayuse Warrior light attack helicopters are part of a follow-on batch of 30 helicopters ordered by the US Army under a wider $1.4 billion Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract issued in September 2017.

According to the Pentagon, the 2017 contract entails the “procurement of an estimated quantity of 150 MD 530F aircraft and required production support services to include program management, delivery support, pilot training and maintenance” by September 2022.

All MD-530F helicopters currently in service with the AAF are equipped with a so-called Enhanced Mission Equipment Package (EMEP) that includes a ballistic crash worthy fuel system, FN Herstal Weapons Management System, DillonAero Mission Configurable Armament System (MCAS) weapons plank and Fixed-Forward Sighting System, Rohde & Schwarz M3AR Tactical Mission Radio, and FN Herstal .50 caliber HMP 400 Machine Gun Pods and M260 7-shot rocket pods, according to MD Helicopters.

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