Nigerian Army getting Cayuse Warrior helicopters

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The Nigerian Army has awarded MD Helicopters a contract to supply 12 Cayuse Warrior Plus scout/attack helicopters to assist in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations in the country.

Mesa, Arizona-based MD Helicopters made the announcement on 7 March, saying the aircraft will be used for area security, tactical reconnaissance convoy escort, and drug interdiction missions in Nigeria. The Nigerian selection includes a complete ILS (Integration Logistic Support) package, spares, pilot and maintainer training, and Flight Training Device (FTD).

Flight International reports that another 24 will be acquired at a later stage, likely in further batches of 12.

“We are grateful for the trust of the Nigerian government, and are pleased to showcase our purpose-built, light attack aircraft solution to Nigeria and the world,” said Brad Pedersen, President and CEO at MD Helicopters. “MD Helicopters has streamlined our production processes to directly address the current and planned increase of aircraft orders,” he added, with staff increasing to over 120 employees.

The Cayuse Warrior Plus (previously referred to as the MD 530F+) is a derivative of the original Cayuse Warrior but featuring improved performance, armour, avionics, and weapons. The aircraft features Wescam’s MX-10D sensor turret, and can carry unguided and guided rockets, and gun pods.

Maximum gross weight is 1 700 kg, useful load 780 kg, service ceiling 16 000 ft, range 574 km, and maximum cruising speed 110 knots.

The MD 530F Cayuse Warrior has been sold to Afghanistan, Kenya, and Saudi Arabia. Lebanon has also acquired the MD 530F+, while Malaysia has acquired the MD 530G. Kenya received six MD 530s in December 2019.