MD Helicopters, Inc. (MDHI) has revealed a new military derivative of the twin-engined MD 902 Explorer, dubbed the MD 969 Combat Attack Helicopter at HAI Heli-Expo 2019. The MD 969 represents the next evolution of MDHI’s iconic MD 900/902 series helicopters. Displayed at the MDHI booth, C1228, in a weaponized configuration the MD 969 Combat Explorer Helicopter represents the future assault and attack capabilities of this proven and powerful light twin-engine aircraft. The company is pitching the MD 969 at the US Army’s upcoming Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) requirement, which is part of the service’s wider Future Vertical Lift (FVL) programme. The MD 900/902 Explorer series helicopters is a multipurpose twin-engine helicopter with operators in every market segment – air medical, law enforcement, search and rescue, electronic newsgathering, executive transport, offshore and utility.
The MD 969 Combat Explorer Helicopter also features a proprietary, MDHI-designed integrated composite weapons plank that allows for greater operational flexibility and expanded mission capabilities. The integrated plank allows for up to 6-station, fixed-forward weapons installation while maintaining unimpeded, full-cabin access to support simultaneous forward fire, crew-served weapons, and personnel transport missions. The helicopter at HELI-EXPO was displayed carrying a mix of rocket pods and 12.7 mm heavy machine gun pods, while a promotional video released by MDHI showed it fitted with AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and 7.62 mm door-mounted Gatling-guns. The up-to-8-seat MD 969 Combat Helicopter is single-pilot IFR certified, and safely and effectively executes a broad range of military, para-military and utility missions including Fast Attack, Combat Search & Rescue, CASEVAC/MEDEVAC, Command & Control, and Personnel Transport.
Other features include a composite fuselage and a digital ‘glass’ cockpit with three Genesys Aerosystems integrated IDU-680 multi-functional displays (MFDs) and one Macro-Blue tactical display. The Genesys Aerosystems Advanced IDU-680 integrated all-glass cockpit is a highly capable and customizable next generation glass cockpit solution that is also the avionics system of choice for MD Helicopters’ MD 530G Attack Helicopters. These all glass primary displays offer 100% digital, open architecture for aircraft-independent installation and are field-upgradeable to add new functionality without replacing hardware components. A 12” Macro-Blue Tactical Display is a rugged and high definition construction engineered to meet DO-160 environmental and MIL-standards for contrast, sunlight readability, anti-reflective glass and NVIS Radiance.
“The MD 969 will deliver a new level of multi-mission capabilities for military operators,” said Lynn Tilton, Chief Executive Officer for MD Helicopters, Inc. “As the premier light twin-engine helicopter in their class, MD 900-series aircraft deliver excellent maneuverability, unmatched safety, and impressive endurance to support a wide range of operations. Enhancements delivered in the MD 969 will further solidify this elegant aircraft as the definitive choice for an ever-expanding range of military and paramilitary operations. As we continue to develop the MD 969 for our military customers, and prepare for development of future attack and reconnaissance aircraft, we have a roadmap that significantly expands the performance envelop for the MD 969, creating a foundation for other future twin-engine development efforts,” Tilton concluded.