Apr 14, 2015
Afghanistan rolls out armed MD 530F helos
The roll-out ceremony took place at Kabul International Airport on 9 April, and saw one of the first six helicopters delivered perform a live-fire demonstration of its twin FN Herstal Heavy Machine Gun Pods (HMPs).
The arrival of the armed MD 530Fs into AAF service will provide a timely boost to the government's close air support capabilities ahead of the 2015 'fighting season' in the country. Between 17 and 20 such helicopters are expected to be fully operational by early 2016.
Once in service, they will augment machine gun-equipped Mil Mi-17 'Hip' and machine gun- and rocket-equipped Mi-35 'Hind' helicopters, as well as the Embraer A-29 Super Tucano light attack turboprop aircraft that is due to arrive towards the end of 2015.
The AAF already operates five MD 530F helicopters as trainers (six were delivered in 2011, but one was lost to an improvised explosive device in 2013).