Afghan MD 530F lost to accident, air force criticises helicopter's performance | World Defense

Afghan MD 530F lost to accident, air force criticises helicopter's performance

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Afghan MD 530F lost to accident, air force criticises helicopter's performance
Gareth Jennings, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
27 September 2015


The AAF lost a second MD 530F when a tailwind tipped an already landed helicopter down the side of a mountain (an IED had accounted for a previously lost helicopter). The news of the loss came as a senior service official questioned the suitability of the MD 530F for Afghanistan. Source: MD Helicopters Inc
The Afghan Air Force (AAF) lost one of its newly delivered MD Helicopters Inc (MDHI) MD 530F Cayuse Warrior ('Jengi' [Warrior]) light attack platforms in a landing accident near Kabul, The New York Times (NYT) disclosed on 26 September.

The scout and close air support helicopter was recently destroyed after a tailwind tipped it over the edge of a mountain that it had landed on, the NYT quoted a senior AAF officer as saying. The two crew members - a US instructor and Afghan trainee - reportedly managed to exit the aircraft before it rolled down the mountain.

Afghanistan has received 18 MD 530F helicopters since deliveries began in December 2011. Of the first batch of six unarmed trainers, one was lost when it landed on an improvised explosive device (IED) in September 2013. Twelve armed MD 530Fs were delivered to the AAF in 2015 (fitted with 12.7 mm machine guns, and to receive 70 mm rockets also), with the five remaining training helicopters to be upgraded to the armed configuration by early 2016.

The NYT disclosure of the loss of one of AAF's current fleet of 17 MD 530Fs was part of a wider report in which a senior service official questioned the suitability of the helicopter for Afghanistan.

Colonel Qalandar Shah Qalandari, who the NYT described as "Afghanistan's most decorated pilot", was quoted as saying that the single-engined helicopter does not have the range to attack Taliban targets from its homebase at Kabul International Airport, and neither does it have the power to operate effectively in Afghanistan's 'hot and high' environment. In the summer they cannot cross the mountain ranges that encircle Kabul, he said.

Further to these complaints, Col Qalandari noted the lack of armour and sighting systems for the helicopter's machine guns as being handicaps also.

Afghan MD 530F lost to accident, air force criticises helicopter's performance - IHS Jane's 360
 
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