Good Deal Perhaps

SHAH ALAM: A Good Deal Perhaps.It appears that the contract for the six MD530G light attack helicopter seemed to be a good deal, after all, at least based on the contract price. At DSA 2016 the government signed a RM321 million contract for the supply of the MD530G inclusive of training and weapons package. That said the full details of the training and weapon package remained unknown.

MD530G test bird with the weapons package expected to be procured.

Why I am pointing this out? Well, on Dec. 13, the U.S announced a gift package of weapons and hardware to Lebanon. Included are six MD530G LAH (same as ours) and associated equipment valued at more $94 million or RM383 million.

MD 530G light attack scout helicopter to be based in ESSCOM.

On paper this means our MD530G is cheaper by RM62 million. A caveat though, as we do not know the full details of our MD530G deal we cannot be celebrating just yet. Hopefully in the near future we will find out more about the contract and hopefully we did get a good deal.

The MD530G that was displayed at LIMA 2015. Note the weapons fit.

The full release on the Lebanon deal.

On December 13, 2017, U.S. Ambassador Elizabeth Richard and the Commander of United States Central Command General Joseph Votel met with Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Minister of Defense Yaacoub el-Sarraf, and Commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces General Joseph Aoun, and visited the Lebanese Military Academy to reaffirm the U.S. government’s commitment to the Lebanese-American partnership and support the Lebanese Armed Forces in their capacity as the sole defender of Lebanon.

After their meeting with the Prime Minister, Ambassador Richard and General Votel announced three new U.S. Department of Defense programs of assistance to continue to build the LAF’s capability to conduct border security and counterterrorism operations. These programs are being funded through the Department of Defense’s “Building Partner Capacity” program and are together valued at more than $120 million.

The first program will provide the LAF a rotary wing close air support capability through delivery of six new MD 530G light attack helicopters and associated equipment and training, valued at more $94 million. The second program will provide the LAF additional command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities through the delivery of six new Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicles and associated equipment and training, valued at more than $11 million. The third program will provide the LAF additional capabilities to employ joint fire support and close air support through the delivery of communications equipment, electronics equipment, night vision devices, and training, valued at more than $16 million. The announcement of these programs reaffirms the U.S. Government’s commitment to the Lebanese-American partnership and support of the Lebanese Armed Forces in their capacity as the sole defender of Lebanon.

Scaneagle UAV, which is deployed at ESSCOM.

Previously it was difficult to determine whether or not we got a good deal as other MD Helicopters customers like Afghanistan bought the MD530F, which is the older model.

By the way, as I reported previously the MD530Gs will only be delivered by late 2018.

– Malaysian Defence

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