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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Afghanistan to Receive 150 MD 530Fs

Afghanistan will receive around 150 MD 530F helicopters.

In a new contract awarded to MD Helicopters on September 5, 2017, Afghanistan is set to receive "an estimated quantity of 150 MD 530F aircraft" as well as support services.

The contract is worth $1.4 billion and is estimated to be completed by August 31, 2022.

Afghanistan has previously received several dozen MD 530Fs to support its Air Force.

Earlier this month, both Afghan and American officials noted that billions of dollars are to be spent over the coming years on augmenting the Afghan Air Force with new aircraft. President Ashraf Ghani said $6 billion will be spent, while U.S. General Phillip A. Stewart gave a different figure, at $7 billion.

In addition to the MD 530Fs, Afghanistan has been receiving A-29 Super Tucanos and last week was named as a recipient for the AC-208. That contract, worth $69.4 million, should be completed by November 30, 2018.

UPDATE: MD Helicopters released a statement regarding the award, indicating that the helicopters were for "U.S. and Partner Nation Army Aviation Forces in support U.S. Army foreign military sales opportunities." The statement said,
MD Helicopters, Inc. (MDHI) announced today that it has been awarded a 5-year, firm-fixed price Contract to provide an estimated quantity of 150 armed MD 530 aircraft and the required production support services, including program management, delivery support, pilot training, and maintenance, to U.S. and Partner Nation Army Aviation Forces in support of U.S. Army foreign military sales (FMS) opportunities.
The statement added that the initial deliveries are for the Afghan Air Force and will total 30 MD 530Fs. While the U.S. Department of Defense contract implied all helicopters were for the Afghan Air Force, it is not immediately clear if that is what MD Helicopters was stating.

UPDATE 2: IHS Jane's spoke to the U.S. Army, which confirmed that the contract covered all foreign military sales customers, not just Afghanistan.

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