Afghanistan Flag Afghan War News



Afghan Report

Daily Read

Kabul NEO



Site Map

Follow @AfghanWarBlog


This website is an Amazon Associate and earns money for qualifying purchases.


MD-530F Helicopter

Home > AAF > MD-530F

MD-530F Helicopter of Afghan Air Force (AAF)
MD-530F Helicopter flying over Kabul - Photo by NATO

Mission and Employment. The MD-530F Cayuse Warrior is used by the Afghan Air Force (AAF) for pilot training at Shindand Air Base in western Afghanistan. Unarmed MD-530s are used for pilot training and armed MD-530s are used for close air attack and aerial escort. The Afghans refer to the helicopter as the "Jengi" (Dari).

Description. The 'F' variant of the Little Bird is modified for hot weather and high elevations (common in Afghanistan).

Number of Aircraft. the numbers of aircraft are hard to pin down as different NATO and U.S. documentation provide a variety of numbers. It is believed that there were six in the 2012 era; but the numbers grew as the years went by. Some reports indicate that that the AAF had 18 of the MD-530Fs as of June 2016. At one time it was reported that one MD-530F was destroyed or damaged after landing on an IED during pilot training in Shindand. Currently it is estimated that there are 60 helicopters in the MD-530 fleet. 5.

MD-530 Helicopters of Afghan Air Force (AAF)
(Resolute Support photo April 2017 Twitter Feed)

Modification with Weapons Systems. In the fall of 2014 MD Helicopters, Inc. of Mesa, Arizona was awarded a $44 million contract 1. to modify seventeen MD 530F aircraft for the installation of a weapons system. The first armed MD-530Fs arrived in March 2015. The helicopter is armed with two .50 caliber machine guns. The first six armed MD-530 helicopters arrived in Afghanistan on March 18, 2015. 2.  

Mission Equipment Package (MEP). The MEP consists of the FN Herstal Heavy Machine Gun Pod (HMP) - the M3 12.7 mm (.50 calibre) machine gun. The HMP will be carried on external weapons planks. It has a rate of fire of 1,100 rds/min and a 400-round ammo box.  There are other equipment upgrades to include comms, fuel, and ballistic protection for the crew.

Rockets. The MD-530Fs are also being upgraded with air-to-surface missiles. The aircraft will be outfitted with seven-tube M260 launcher for the 70mm (2.75 inch) rockets under a US $13.2 million contract awarded by the U.S. Army. 4.

MD-530 Helicopters of AAF
Arrival of the first six armed MD-530 Helicopters on 18 Mar 2015
(Photo by 438th Air Expeditionary Wing)

Videos of the MD 530F

September 8, 2017. Going through Flight School in a Combat Zone, Resolute Support. In this video a U.S. Army Instructor Pilot talks about working with the pilots of the Afghan Air Force at Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan.

News Reports of the MD-530 Helicopter

September 7, 2017. "Afghanistan Is Getting More Ill-Suited Attack Choppers it May Not Even Be Able to Fly", The Drive. Joseph Trevithick explores the utility of more choppers for an air force with few pilots and maintenance expertise that suffers from the "Afghan condition".

September 6, 2017. "MDHI Awarded $1.4 Billion IDIQ for Armed Scout Attack Helicopters", MD Helicopters. An initial 30 of the 150 in the contract will head to Afghanistan for the AAF.

August 25, 2016. "The MD-530 Experience", DVIDS. A first person account of flying in a MD-530 Cayuse Warrior helicopter.

June 17, 2016. "Afghan Air Force gets new helicopters, capability", DVIDS. Five new MD-530 Cayuse Warrior helicopters arrived in Afghanistan in June 2016. These new helicopters have the capablity to fire rockets or .50-caliber machine guns. These five new helicopters increase the AAF inventory from 13 to 18 MD-530s. The MD-530s support ANA troops on the ground and escort AAF Mi-17s in the air. The MD-530 costs about $5 million each and is purchased using the Afghan Security Forces Fund (ASFF). By the end of August 2016, the AAF is scheduled to receive nine more MD-530s for a total strength of 27.

January 12, 2016. "Afghan Air Force to receive 12 warrior helicopters from US", Khaama Press.

October 1,2015. "MD-530 "Jengi" helicopters depart Kabul for first expeditionary operations in Helmand". Khaama Press. U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jim Abbott, an MD-430 advisor at Train, Advise, Assist Command - Air (TAAC-Air) provides us with some background info on the MD-530.

October 1, 2015. "MD refutes Afghan MD 530F criticisms". Shepard Media.

September 28, 2015. "Afghanistan's Newest Attack Helicopter a Total Mess?". by Franz-Stefan Gady in The Diplomat. Afghanistan's most decorated pilot is critical of U.S. efforts to help build the Afghan Air Force.

August 14, 2015. "Afghan Air Force to Receive 5 More Attack Helicopters". The Diplomat.

August 12, 2015. "MD Helicopters' Cayuse Warrior enters combat in Afghanistan". Flight Global.

April 12, 2015. "Afghanistan rolls out armed MD 530F helos". IHS Jane's 360.



(return to top of page)


1. See DoD Contract News Release dated October 1, 2014 (No. CR-189-14) for specifications on the modification of seventeen MD-530F helicopters.

2. The date (Mar 18, 2015) of the arrival of the first six armed MD-530 helicopters is provided in a Facebook posting by the 438th Air Expeditionary Wing. See additional photos of the arrival on 438th AEW Facebook.

3. Info taken from a Jane's 360 news article dated March 18, 2015.

4. For more on the MD-530F rockets see "Afghan Air Force to Get Rocket Equipped MD 530F Helicotpers", Defense, July 14, 2015.

5. According to this news report there are 60 MD-530s in the AAF. See "Afghanistan's Air Force Receives Five More MD-530 Helicopters", Reportedly, November 26, 2019.


Books about Afghanistan

Books about Afghanistan

All external sites open up in a new window.
Please report broken links or inaccurate content to the webmaster at
Copyright 2010-2022