MD Helicopters Inc (MDHI) has announced a strategic teaming agreement with Elbit Systems to enhance the weapons and mission management systems for its MD 530G Block II light attack/scout helicopter.
The agreement will see the integration of Elbit Systems’ Helmet Display and Tracking System (HDTS), Mission Management System (MMS) and Weapons Management System (WMS) – all of which make up the Integrated Weapons System (IWS).
Elbit’s HDTS can be employed in both day and night operations, providing pilots with a hybrid head-tracking capability, which will enhance coordination and improve targeting/cueing. The WMS will give the MD 530G Block II a comprehensive number of suppressive firepower options, including guided and unguided munitions such as the Hellfire air-to-surface missile. Per customer demand, the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) can also be integrated onto the helicopter. The WMS also supports M260 rocket pods, RMP digital gun/rocket pods, HMP 400 digital gun pods, and M134D-H miniguns. Elbit’s WMS will add critical weapons management functions to the MD 530G Block II, with weapon activation and HDTS operation being integrated into both pilots’ cyclic grip.
The main addition that will be included in this agreement is the MMS – a digital mapping application which is managed by a touch screen graphical user interface, boosting situational awareness by noting aircraft positions, friendly forces/locations and known threats. The MMS will integrate with the MD 530G Block II’s Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) system, which will compliment the detection and storing of intelligence, enabling crews to further engage threats.
Lynn Tilton, CEO of MDHI, said: “This partnership with Elbit Systems, Ltd. will allow us to rapidly expand the capabilities of the MD 530G, resulting in a next-generation, advanced light scout attack helicopter solution that will set a new standard in this highly-competitive class.”
The MD 530G Block II is designed to provide close air support (CAS) operations, employed in missions such as forward air control, armed reconnaissance, attack, counter-insurgency and observation.
“A proven and iconic light scout attack helicopter platform, the addition of this elegant, technically-superior solution elevates the MD 530G [Block II] to best-in-class status," said Tilton. "My team has delivered industry-leading rotorcraft solutions for decades. Now partnered with the Elbit Systems team, we are poised to bring a new level of customisable, operator-focused solutions to U.S. and Partner Nation aviation forces."
The first live-fire events with a ‘production-quality test asset’ are expected to take place in 2020.