Six MD530Gs finally handed over to Malaysia

MD Helicopters Inc (MDHI) announced on January 13 that the Malaysian Ministry of Defence has completed the initial acceptance of six MD530G light attack/scout helicopters through their agent, Halaman Optima/Destini Prima.

The six helicopters are now in transit to Malaysia for final acceptance and are expected to arrive in-country by the end of the first quarter of 2022. Following which, the aircraft will enter operational service with the Malaysian Army. As part of the contract, eight pilots and nine mechanics from the Malaysian Army Aviation’s 881st Regiment at the Mahkota Camp, Kluang, have completed forward arming and refuelling point (FARP) operations training in West Texas.

Malaysian MD530G fleet [MDHI]
The six MDHI MD530G light attack/scout helicopters that are destined to enter operational service with the Malaysian Army in mid-2022. These aircraft were initially scheduled to be delivered before the end of 2018. MDHI

Following the initial acceptance of the six MD530Gs in the US, Ek Sing Nguong – senior vice president at Destini Prima and a retired Lt Col from the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) – said: “We are very pleased to accept the delivery of this outstanding aircraft at [MDHI] on behalf of the Malaysian Ministry of Defence.

“It is with great excitement that we are able to take this programme to the next stage. We look forward to the equipment’s arrival in Kuala Lumpur to complete the in-country final acceptance training,” he added.

The US test registrations and construction numbers for the six helicopters are: N6069T (c/n 0267FF); N6068S (c/n 0268FF); N6071U (c/n 0271FF); N6072F (c/n 0272FF); N6073Y (c/n 0273FF) and N6074E (c/n 0274FF). A handover image released by MDHI shows on Malaysian serial as M82-06, suggesting that the batch allocated for these helicopters is most likely M82-01 to M82-06.

These test registrations were all cancelled on December 16-17, 2021, as the MD530Gs departed the continental US on their delivery journey to Malaysia. Tie-ups to their operational Malaysian serials remain unconfirmed but will most likely be in sequence with the aircraft’s construction numbers.

The Malaysian MD530G equipment fit includes the integration of the L3 WESCAM MX-10D electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) airborne targeting and designating sensor and the Pathfinder Ares Weapons Management System from Tek Fusion. These integrated systems are used to support the Dillion M134 minigun; FN Herstal Heavy Machine Gun (HMG); Rocket Machine Gun pods and both guided and unguided 2.75in Folding-Fin Aerial Rockets.

The acquisition contract for these helicopters was placed in 2016 and the initial delivery schedule would have seen the first two examples arrive in Malaysia by July 2017, followed by the remaining four by December 2018. However, the delivery was constantly deferred as a result of a variety of technical and other issues.