MD Helicopters introduces first new aircraft in 15 years
April 2, 2012, Mesa, Az. - MD Helicopters Inc.released details today of
its new scout helicopter—the MD 540-F, the newest addition to MD’s fleet
of single engine turbine helicopters. The 540F is an upgrade to the
popular MD 530F, boasting a 6 bladed, fully articulated rotor blade
system made up entirely of composite material and a more rugged landing
skid built for heavier take-off and landing weights.
By Carey Fredericks
“This aircraft will be a game changer for our company,” commented Ms.
Lynn Tilton, CEO of MDHI. “The commercial and military markets have long
sought an affordable, light, single engine helicopter that can perform
exceptionally well at hot and high altitudes while carrying a larger
useful load. The MD 540F will be that aircraft. Our engineers have
managed to increase max gross take-off weight and useful load
dramatically. This increase will allow the MD 540 F to carry a full
avionics and weapons package while hovering at 6,000 feet/95°F.”
The MD 540F will be equipped with a fully integrated digital glass
cockpit. Information will be displayed to the pilots on large, easy to
read, multi-function color displays, and directly onto the pilot’s eyes
using a sophisticated Helmet Display and Tracking System (HDTS). The
weapons system will include fixed forward firing rockets and guns, laser
guided rockets, and Hellfire missiles. The Targeting FLIR with laser
designator, coupled with the HDTS and laser guided rockets or Hellfire
missile, will allow the pilot to easily locate and destroy hostile
targets – day or night.
“The 540F will be a lethal fighting machine,” said Tilton. “The 540F
will carry much of the same punch as the heavier attack helicopters at a
fraction of the acquisition expense and life cycle operation costs.
Using precise aim points and laser guided missiles and rockets, the MD
540F will be able to destroy enemy armor and infantry positions with
little collateral battle damage.”
The increased useful load will allow the armed version of the 540F to
carry an advanced, lightweight weapons platform with 4 stations. Various
mixes of guns, rockets and missiles can be carried simultaneously.
Development of the MD 540F is ongoing, and flight tests have commenced.
The armed version will be on display at the Army Aviation Association of
America (Quad-A) convention in Nashville TN. Certification is projected
for the 1st quarter of 2013.