SHAH ALAM: FlightGlobal is reporting that MD Helicopters Inc (MDHI) is suing Boeing over the Saudi AH-6i light scout attack helicopter contract.
A batch of helicopters delivered years late and allegedly with parts missing and broken has led to a second legal dispute between MD Helicopters (MDHI) and Boeing, two acrimonious neighbours and former corporate partners in Mesa, Arizona.
MDHI says in the new lawsuit that it supplied airframes for AH-6i helicopters ordered by the Saudi Arabian National Guard to Boeing, but Boeing refuses to pay several outstanding invoices. MDHI has an agreement to supply Boeing with AH-6i airframes, which are derived originally from the MD-530F.
The dispute adds further acrimony to a 20-year-old relationship between Boeing and MD Helicopters. It also arises as sales for the two light attack and reconnaissance helicopters at the heart of the dispute – Boeing’s AH-6i Little Bird and MDHI’s MD-500 – move in opposite directions.
Of course this is nothing to do with us as the six MD-530G LSAH we purchased are from MDHI. However, I have been told that all six MD-530Gs for the Army will be delivered, most likely by end of 2018. This despite the minister telling us that the first pair will be delivered by the end of 2017. It was even stated earlier it will be in late 2016!
As reported previously, the MD-530Gs are part of the 20 assets to be delivered to the Armed Forces under the 2018 budget.
I was not informed the official reason for the delay but I was told that the Defence Ministry was expecting that the helicopters – at least two – will be delivered by year end.
It must be noted that MDHI delivered a brand new MD600N helicopter to Sapura Aero in early October. The 600N is the civil no-tail rotor variant of the MD500 family. Sapura Aero ordered the MD600 much earlier than the MD530G contract, which was signed in late 2015.
With the delivery Sapura Aero became the first operator of the MD600N in Southeast Asia.
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