Helicopters Magazine

MD Helicopters announces new orders in St. Louis, Kansas

July 18, 2012  By Carey Fredericks

July 18, 2012, St. Louis, Mo. - MD Helicopters Inc., a leading manufacturer of commercial, military and law enforcement helicopters, has announced new orders in both St. Louis and Kansas.

In St. Louis, the company has processed a new order for a 500E helicopter from the Metro Air Support Unit. The order adds to the unit’s existing fleet of helicopters which includes three MD 500E models.

“We are excited about the newest order received from the St. Louis Metro Air Support Unit and proud of our long partnership with and support to the unit, dating back to 1985,” said Lynn Tilton, Chief Executive Officer of MDHI. “This order adds to the more than 150 MD helicopters actively used in law enforcement missions.”

The new helicopter will provide additional support to the St. Louis Metro Air Support Unit’s air fleet, enhancing the unit’s ability to perform search and rescue missions, and support first responders.

Captain Jon Belmar of the St. Louis County Police Department stated, “I am pleased to announce that the Metro Air Support Unit will be adding another MD 500E helicopter to the fleet. The new addition will be a tremendous asset and increase our ability to patrol and provide support to the St. Louis County region.”


The St. Louis County’s aviation unit began in 1971, and years later upgraded to a state-of-the art MD 500E helicopter in 1985. In 1987, the unit followed with another MD 500E helicopter and, shortly thereafter, acquired three OH6A military surplus helicopters. In 2009, the St. Louis Metro Air Support Unit rounded out its fleet to six helicopters with a third MD 500E helicopter.

With their latest order, the Metro Air Support Unit has expanded its fleet to seven helicopters, as the unit patrols over 1,500 square miles and responds to calls for service in the surrounding counties in Missouri and Illinois. The newest MD 500E will not only increase support to the region’s infrastructure but, with the latest geographic information system and cockpit technology, it will enhance the unit’s ability to perform search and rescue missions. The other two agencies associated with the Metro Air Support Unit are the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the St. Charles County Sheriff’s Department.

Expanding in Kansas

The Kansas City Police Department (KCPD) will also take delivery of three new MD 500E helicopters during the 2012 third quarter.

The helicopters will provide additional support to the Police Patrol Support Unit and enhance the unit’s ability to perform airborne law enforcement. The newest members of the KCPD air fleet are equipped with the latest state-of-the art technology, including an infrared camera, video downlink, NVG compatible cockpit, high powered searchlight and a mapping system.

“We are honored to deliver three new MD 500E models to the Kansas City Police Department, adding to its fleet of high performance MD helicopters, and we appreciate their loyalty to our product,” stated Lynn Tilton, Chief Executive Officer of MDHI. “Our commitment to advancing helicopter performance, safety and value for law enforcement missions is the basis for our longtime partnership with the Kansas City Police Department and each of our law enforcement customers.”

The Kansas City aviation unit began in 1967, when the Kansas City Missouri Police Chief initiated aerial patrols over the city using a fleet of three Hughes 300B helicopters. This was one of the first municipal law enforcement agencies to implement the concept of airborne helicopter patrol. In 1995, the KCPD took delivery of three military surplus Hughes OH-6A helicopters and, by 2001, all of the Hughes 300B helicopters were sold. In 2008, the unit took delivery of a fourth Hughes OH-6A to increase its patrol coverage.

After years of successful operation using surplus OH-6A military helicopters, and a rigorous sourcing review of competitive rotorcraft, the decision to upgrade its fleet to the MD 500E was made. The performance, agility, speed and low operating cost of the MD 500E makes the aircraft a great addition to the KCPD Patrol Support Unit, providing enhanced operational capabilities and greater mission versatility and performance.


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