SHAH ALAM: IN my post “When November Comes” I wrote that the contract for the MD Helicopters MD-530G aka Little Bird will be signed during the ASEM summit with US president Barack Obama in attendance. Actually, the contract signing for the light scout attack helicopter did took place during that week alas without the presence of the POTUS.
Despite the best efforts they could not slot the contract signing during the busy ASEM weekend. Both sides had wanted Obama to witness the signing as this was to be the most significant arms deal between the US and Malaysia, since the Hornet procurement in 1993.
Yes we did bought other stuff from the US in the intervening years like the M4 Carbines but nothing really significant like the Hornets.
Details of the direct commercial deal is expected to be made public at DSA 2016. The number of MD-530G signed was six, I was told and not eight as I had reported.
As mentioned previously, the Little Birds will be deployed in ESSCOM once delivered and fully operational. For the weapons package, its likely the standard suite like the Dillon Aero M134D minigun, HMG and rocket pods and guided rockets will be procured as shown by the picture below.
It is unlikely for the moment that we will be buying the Hellfire ATGM – cleared for the Little Bird – as this will need to be procured through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme. A future buy is still likely though for the rather pricey ordnance.
It is expected that the Little Bird version that was contracted was the same as the example displayed at LIMA 2015 earlier this year. Among others, the MD 530G displayed at LIMA featured the 650 shp Rolls Royce 250-C30 engine, longer main-rotor blades, high-capacity landing gear, the Moog Stores Management System (SMS), Harris Corporation’s RF-7850A-UA tactical radio and the Thales’ Scorpion helmet-mounted cueing system.
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