Kenyan MD530Fs to be delivered by year-end


The Kenyan military will receive six MD530F Cayuse Warrior helicopters by the end of this year, with training and support contracts having just been awarded.

The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) requested 12 of the helicopters valued at $253 million in May 2017 and on 27 September 2018 MD Helicopters was awarded a contract to deliver six MD530Fs to Kenya under a $1.4 billion award that also covers the supply of up to 150 armed MD530Fs/MD530Gs to US and partner nation military forces. The Kenyan contract includes initial logistics support (ILS) for the aircraft, aircraft systems and ground support equipment.

MD Helicopters on 13 September announced that it was awarded a contract for logistics support and training by the US Army Contracting Command in terms of the five-year Kenyan contract. It added that shipment of the six MD 530F Cayuse Warriors will be complete by the end of the year.

Powered by the Rolls-Royce 250-C30 650shp turbine engine, these aircraft will feature an all-digital glass cockpit, ballistically tolerant crashworthy fuel system, Harris RF-7850A tactical radio, Rockwell Collins HF-9000D radio, and the full complement of mission equipment that is standard to the Cayuse Warrior including FN Herstal Weapons Management System, DillonAero Mission Configurable Armament System (MCAS), DillonAero Fixed-Forward Sighting System, 62 mm ballistic armour protection, FN Herstal .50 caliber HMP 400 Machine Gun Pods and M260 7-shot rocket pods.

Effective from 1 September 2019, the support contract has an initial period of performance through 30 December 2020. Transition training will take place at the MD Helicopters headquarters in Mesa, Arizona, with foreign operations, including field service support, armament, and gunnery training, scheduled to occur at Laikipia Air Base, Kenya.

“We are pleased MD Helicopters was selected to provide mentorship, maintenance expertise, and Pilot and Maintainer training to the Kenya Defence Forces,” said Lynn Tilton, MD Helicopters, Inc. Chief Executive Officer. “As the aircraft OEM, no one is better suited to provide the full spectrum of aftermarket operations, training, and support services to our customers.”

“Excellence in product design and customer support is the cornerstone of our decades-long legacy serving US and Allied forces,” Tilton continued. “This legacy, coupled with the recent approval of [the US Army mandated Ground and Flight Risk Clause] GFRC, enhances US Government confidence in our ability to provide comprehensive ground and flight support in accordance with the highest operational standards.”

“The MD 530F Cayuse Warrior is a proven platform for light scout attack combat operations,” Tilton concluded. “Supported by the skilled men and women of the MD Helicopters team, our military operators have successfully flown hundreds of missions annually, maintaining operational readiness rates in excess of 90%. We welcome the Kenya Defence Forces to the global MD Helicopters family, and are committed to exceeding the training, support, and performance expectations of both our US Army and Kenya Defence Forces customer.”

The US Defence Security Cooperation Agency, in announcing the Kenyan contract last year, said the sale would advance Kenya’s efforts to conduct scout and attack rotary wing aircraft operations in support of their AMISOM mission in Somalia. “The MD 530F will also replace Kenya’s aging MD500 fleet, which is the current reconnaissance platform supporting Kenyan ground forces. This sale will significantly enhance the Kenyan Army’s modernization efforts and increase interoperability with the US Armed Forces and other partners in the region. Additionally, a strong national defence and dedicated military force will assist Kenya in its efforts to maintain stability in East Africa.”