First Lebanese crews complete MD 530F helicopter training

An initial group of Lebanese Air Force (LAF) personnel has completed training on the MD 530F helicopter as the air arm prepares to induct six examples of the platform into operational service.

Manufacturer MD Helicopters Inc (MDHI) announced on March 16 that the first of three training classes for LAF pilots, maintainers and armament personnel had been successfully completed at the MDHI Flight Training Academy in Mesa, Arizona, as well as an off-site location for gunnery training.

Lebanese MD 530F [MDHI]
Lebanese Air Force (LAF) armament personnel prepare MD 530F - serial 314 - for aerial gunnery training. MDHI

MDHI said that utilizing the LAF’s own MD 530Fs for the training allowed the customer to become comfortable in their own aircraft and ensure the aircraft will maintain a high rate of readiness during all phases of training and after delivery.

Pilot training consisted of aircraft qualification, including touchdown emergency procedure training, basic combat skills, and tactics conducted during daylight and night-time utilizing night vision goggles (NVG). Tactical training included single ship and team tactics and culminated with day/NVG aerial gunnery utilizing the customer’s pilots, maintainers and armament personnel, training as they would in combat.

Additional training was conducted for the instructor and maintenance test pilots, and supplemental quality control classes allowed the customer to become more familiar with both flying and maintaining the aircraft.

MDHI announced a LAF contract for six helicopters on October 1, 2018. A modification to the original contract, announced by MDHI on October 14, 2020, added instructor pilot flight training, maintenance and armament training for 12 pilots and 16 maintenance technicians from the LAF. It also included provision for additional spares parts to maintain a high level of operational availability.