Afghan Air Force MD-530s

The McDonnell Douglas (MD-530) helicopters are set to officially join the Afghan Air Force (AAF) on coming Thursday.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said Saturday that the helicopters will enter service during a ceremony which is scheduled on Thursday, 9th of April.

The capabilities of the Afghan Air Force (AAF) are expected to receive a boost with the addition of the helicopters.

The Afghan Air Force received the first six Armed MD-530s last month with the NATO Train, Assist, Advise Command-Air and 438th Air Expeditionary Wing, saying that the armed MD-530s will increase the Afghan Air Force aerial fires capability.

Armed Mi-17s and MD-530s give the Afghan Air Force six times the number of armed aircraft for Fighting Season 2015 as compared to last fighting season, which only employed five Mi-35s.

Pentagon awarded MD Helicopters Inc. a maximum $44.2 million firm-fixed-price contract last year to develop and provide an armament package for the MD-530F helicopters that were already supplied to the Afghan Air Force.

Around 17 of the Afghan Air Force’s MD-530F helicopter will be upgraded under the contract which is expected to be completed early next year.

MD-530F helicopters are designed for high altitude and/or hot weather operations, where thinner air costs helicopters some of their lift.