MD Helicopters, Boeing Slug Out in Court

A file picture of a MD600N helicopter

SHAH ALAM: FlightGlobal is reporting that MD Helicopters Inc (MDHI) is suing Boeing over the Saudi AH-6i light scout attack helicopter contract.

From FlightGlobal

Boeing AH-6i attack helicopter. Ground to air of AC. Pilot Todd Brown, location Mesa, AZ

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!

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

As reported previously, the MD-530Gs are part of the 20 assets to be delivered to the Armed Forces under the 2018 budget.
MD530G test aircraft. Destini is now the main contractor for the helicopters.

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.
A file picture of a MD600N helicopter

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.
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With the delivery Sapura Aero became the first operator of the MD600N in Southeast Asia.

— Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam


  1. About The MD-530G, I Think Next Year The Goverment Would Buy More Light Attack Helicopter For the Army Permently Or Something. If AH-1Z Will be Army Air Corps’s Primary Attack Helicopter could be Good. Just as a Openion

  2. Is it possible we might get Hellfire missiles or any ATGM for our MD-530G in the future?

    There’s always the possibility though none so far

  3. AH-1Z?

    We have enough priorities going unfunded, without letting PUTD and all the other branches do their own empire building.

  4. AM,

    It’s Just an Openion if 2019 Budget Will have an Attack Helicopter Requestment For The Army Permently. AH-1Z Or T-129 Could be Good Choice but Since Our MD-530G is On Delivery, We Can Only used for ESSCOM And ESSZONE

  5. Wonderful. Then we can have a small number each of A109, Nuri (we invested in both to keep for a long time more) MD-530 and one more armed helicopter.

    We need an advanced AH in case a Sulu marine expeditionary unit lands in ESSCOM.

  6. AM,

    Advance AH ?, I Think AH-1Z or T-129 is The Choice for Army. If Two or Four Squadron Should be Enough for Army.. And Goverment should Starting to Look For the Heavy Cargo Helicopter like CH-47

  7. Safran, I was being sarcastic. Heavy firepower and advanced capabilities are not needed in Esscom. What’s needed is detecting them early and moving light forces there fast. If we have MD-530, it’s more than enough firepower without introducing a whole new logistical tail running to different suppliers and countries.

    The MD-530’s all weather targeting capability will be useful, but almost any helicopter that is so retrofitted would also do the job.

    We shouldn’t be buying equipment that have a small user base, whether the T-129, Rooivalk or even the Tiger.

  8. Safran – ”Something. If AH-1Z Will be Army Air Corps’s Primary Attack Helicopter could be Good.”

    Whether we buy the Apache, Tigre, T-129 or AH-1Z is immaterial as ALL can do the job, despite ALL having their respective merits over one another. It’s not [like the MRCAs] the platform that counts but the numbers we buy, the doctrine we have and how well we integrate attack helicopters to operate in support or alongside existing assets.

    Little Birds are perfect for ESSCOM where something like Apache or even AH-1Z would be an overkill. Yes, as part of the army’s ongoing modernisation efforts it does has a requirement for a full fledged attack helicopter but the reality is that there’s no cash and that other priorities are being addressed first.

    Safran – ”should Starting to Look For the Heavy Cargo Helicopter like CH-47”

    We were offered Mil-26s in the 80’s and in the late 90’s there was interest in CH-47s. Like a lot of things we would like to have or might need; acquiring heavy lifters is just not a priority at present.


    The only good thing that came out of the 1997 Asian Economic Crisis was that it lead to the cancellation of the Rooivalk deal. On whether accepting the Mil-35s that were originally offered with the Fulcrums is something we should have done is open to debate.

  9. Safran – ”I Think AH-1Z or T-129 is The Choice for Army.”

    At the moment there is zero ”’choice” or preference.

    Safran – ”If Two or Four Squadron Should be Enough for Army.. ”

    What accurately defines ”enough”? What’s ”enough” should be based on not only cash but also operational requirements and threat perceptions as well as the ability to support ‘x’ number of helicopters. Even if we had the cash to buy 2 squadrons and operate them; how long do you think it will take to get the needed pilots, support crews, staff and to set up the logistical/training infrastructure needed for 2 squadrons?

  10. Azlan and AM,

    I was not talking about ESSCOM And ESZONE For AH. I Was Talking About Permently Attack Helicopter To Protect in Semenanjung and East Malaysia. I was Hoping If Goverment Could Buy Affordable Price For Army Air Unit as It Should need More Firepower. Secondly, Cargo Helicopter Might not be Priotiry to use as Today but For The Flood Seasons and Others Might Needed. MD-530G Is Good Enough but Let’s See If They Can Attack Equally.

  11. Azlan,

    I Don’t care About the Pilots But Just To Keep on That Mind for Additional Pilots To Army Air Corps

  12. “The only good thing that came out of the 1997 Asian Economic Crisis was that it lead to the cancellation of the Rooivalk deal.”

    With budget levels as they are today, if we had bought Mi-26s or Chinooks or Rooivalks many of these assets would likely be mothballed now. (If only something had happened to stall the A400M.)

    Or training levels and availability rates would be curtailed, like what other militaries in the region did during and after the crisis.

  13. Safran – ”I Don’t care About the Pilots”

    You don’t care? Fine but in the real world there aren’t enough pilots and support crews nor the required training/support infrastructure for 2 attack heli squadrons.

    Safran – ” was not talking about ESSCOM And ESZONE For AH. I Was Talking About Permently Attack Helicopter To Protect in Semenanjung and East Malaysia.”

    Yes but we were talking about ESSCOM in relation to the Little Birds and the fact that like other things on the long shopping list; attack helicopters are not a priority at present.

    Safran – ”MD-530G Is Good Enough but Let’s See If They Can Attack Equally.”

    ”Good enough” for the low intensity threats faced by ESSCOM but obviously not ”good enough” as a full fledged attack platform which nobody has suggested it is.

  14. Azlan,

    Please Stop Taking Of My Words. Just Stop. For All I See, The Armed Forces Will be Doomed If They Don’t Take Easier For Futrue AH not Only For ESSCOM But For The Defence System

  15. Safran,

    It will take a lot for than attack helicopters for us to have an adequate means to defends ourselves in the event of a full scale war. You’re being overly dramatic. Granted, you seem to have a fixation with attack helicopters but the plain fact is that there are other pressing requirements to focus on at the moment.

  16. Azlan,

    Im not Over Dramatic, Im just Over-Strees About These Assets that We Can’t Focus it.. Attack Helicopter is Not Our Priotiry But For The Defence They Have To Focus it. Thais Has Started to Replace Their Cobras and Now !, Our Armed Force is Doomed

  17. You are being ”over dramatic” by saying we’ll be ”doomed”. It totally depends on the circumstances doesn’t it that’ll determine if we’ll be ”doomed”. Don”t generalise. If the Soviet 1st Guards Tank Army came back from time and appeared in Sabah; even 24 attack helis wouldn’t help much would they?? Coming back to the present if we had 24 attack helis but didn’t have the right doctrine and those helis hardly trained with units they were intended to support; we’d also be ”doomed”.

  18. You Also Dramatic Lan, There’s Nothing We Can Do even We Have 6 MD-530 With these Sulus.

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