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US ‘Little Birds’ flying to Lebanon

Posted 7 May 2019 · Add Comment

Lebanon is to receive a new $120 million US military aid package, writes Jon Lake.

It includes six MD530G scout and light-attack helicopters, six Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and associated communications equipment intended to allow ground troops to call in air strikes.
The US Army placed the order for the six MD 530Gs for Lebanon on October 1 2018, though the delivery forms part of a wider US Army effort to equip allied air arms with up to 150 'Little Bird'-series rotorcraft.
This larger order underpinned a $1.4 billion five-year indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) contract that was awarded in September 2017. That deal also covers the supply of at least 36 MD530Fs to Afghanistan and six MD530Fs to Kenya.
The MD530F Light Scout Attack Helicopter and the MD530G Cayuse Warrior are similar derivatives of the of the Vietnam War-era Hughes Model 369, delivered to the US Army as the OH-6 Cayuse Light Observation Helicopter, and popularly known as the Loach and as the 'Killer Egg' in armed form.
A succession of company owners developed progressively improved civil and military models, culminating in the A/MH-6 'Little Bird' used by US special forces.
Boeing retained the rights to the 'Little Bird' for the US forces and some high-end allies, while Lynn Tilton's company, MD Helicopters Inc (MDHI), began the development of Scout Attack Helicopter variants of the MD530F and MD530G in 2011, having taken over the civil MD500/520/530 series in 2005.
The MD530G differs from the MD530F in having a new glass cockpit configuration with digital multi-function displays and an L3 Wescam MX-10D sensor turret as standard.
The MX-10D includes visual and infrared full-motion video cameras, and a laser designator, giving the MD530G the ability to employ precision-guided munitions, including the laser-guided BAE Systems advanced precision kill weapon system II (APKWS II), which will be supplied with the Lebanese MD530Gs.
The two variants originally differed in the number of weapons hardpoints offered, but both the MD530F and the MD530G now tend to be offered with the Dillon Aero six-position mission-configurable aircraft system (MCAS) weapons 'plank'.
 

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