Production of Nigerian Cayuse Warrior helicopters underway

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MD Helicopters is currently busy with the manufacture of the first three of 12 Cayuse Warrior Plus helicopters for the Nigerian Army.

The company made the announcement this week to coincide with the Paris Air Show, where it is exhibiting.

The aircraft, manufactured at the MD Helicopters facility in Arizona, were chosen to support counter insurgency and counter terrorism operations in Nigeria and are scheduled to be delivered over the next two years, MD Helicopters said.

Nigeria’s order for the helicopters was announced by MD Helicopters in March this year. The Nigerian selection includes a complete ILS (Integration Logistic Support) package, spares, pilot and maintainer training, and Flight Training Device (FTD). Flight International reported that another 24 will be acquired at a later stage, likely in further batches of 12.

“It is exciting to see the Nigerian Army aircraft move along our production line,” said MD Helicopters President and CEO Brad Pedersen. “We have also significantly increased our hiring and ramped up our spare parts supply chain to provide best-in-class customer support for not only these aircraft but the entire worldwide fleet.”

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.