The Malaysia Mail reported on 19 April 2019 that the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) is expected to receive six MD 530G helicopters in stages beginning from June next year, with Malaysian personnel bound for training in the United States. Malaysia ordered the MD 530Gs in early 2016 under a contract estimated to be worth $76.4 million. Local company Halaman Optima was originally selected as the intermediary between the Malaysian government and MD Helicopters, although Halaman Optima was later acquired by Destini Berhad, which is now executing the contract.
The MD503G Light Attack Helicopters would need to undergo evaluation test and meet MAF’s criteria before Malaysia proceeds to accept them, said Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob. A team has departed for the United States (US) to carry out the test before the helicopters are certified as MAF assets. Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob also said the Defence Ministry was in the process of applying to the Public Service Department to increase the number of MAF personnel, especially in Sabah and Sarawak.
The MD 530Gs were originally slated to be delivered in two batches — the first two by July 2017, with the other four scheduled to arrive by December 2018. But the delivery dates have repeatedly been pushed back over “technical” and other issues. The helicopters will be based in the state of Sabah in eastern Malaysia, which has in recent years encountered security challenges. Smuggling and piracy have spilled over into the eastern Malaysian waters, along with gangs from the Philippines crossing the sea on occasion to raid Sabah’s popular beach resorts, sometimes kidnapping tourists for ransom.
MD 530G is a next-generation armed scout-attack helicopter developed by MD Helicopters. It is designed to provide enhanced agility and firepower for the armed forces. The armed aerial scout helicopter can be deployed with any rotary-wing unit to provide a comprehensive battlefield command-and-control coordination for the successful execution of attack, reconnaissance and security missions. MD 530G design and features The MD 530G armed aerial scout helicopter is designed based on the MD 530F airframe and is engineered with advanced technology to deliver enhanced combat capabilities.