The US Embassy in El Salvador announced on 29 August that the US government donated 12 MD530F light attack helicopters to the Salvadoran Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Salvadorena, FAS). In 2012 MD Helicopters Inc. (MDHI) received a $7.6-million Foreign Military Sales contract to provide three MD 500E single engine turbine helicopters to the Salvadorian air force. Salvadorian air force operates four MD 500E helicopters. The US Embassy reported that a donation of 8 MD530F helicopters have already be done, logistical equipment for air support pilot training and four more helicopters are on the way.
MD 530F Cayuse Warrior is an armed variant of the OH-6 Cayuse light observation helicopter built by MD Helicopters. It is designed to enhance scout attack, armed escort and close air attack capabilities of the air forces. The MD Helicopters MD 500 series is an American family of light utility civilian and military helicopters. During the Salvadoran Civil War, the Salvadoran Air Force operated six MD 500Ds, which were supplemented later by nine MD 500Es supplied by the United States in 1983. These were used as gunships, armed with 7.62 mm Miniguns and unguided rockets, as well as being used for reconnaissance and liaison duties.
The MD 530F helicopter is armed with FN HMP400 LCC (links and case collector) coaxial airborne weapon system developed by FN Herstal. The helicopter can be attached with Mace Aviation-developed Extended Range Weapons Wing (ER2W), which has four weapons stations and a 35gal internal fuel tank.The machine gun pod features .50cal FN M3P machine gun. Its weapon system supports all types of 12.7mm x 99mm Nato ammunition rounds. FN HMP400 has a fully loaded weight of 138kg and ammunition storage capacity of 400 rounds. The weapon system can fire at a rate of around 1,100 rounds a minute.
The Cayuse Warrior helicopter is 9.8m-long, 2.6m-high, and the diameter of its main rotor diameter is 8.38m. Its empty weight is 722kg and the maximum gross take-off weight is 1,406kg. The helicopter can carry a useful load of 684kg and an external load of 979kg, and has a fuel capacity of 183kg. The forward section of the fuselage contains cockpit and cabin compartments, while the lower section houses two fuel cells. MD 530F helicopter is driven by Rolls-Royce 250-C30 turboshaft engine, which generates a power of 485kW. The helicopter can fly at a maximum cruise speed of 248km/h and has a maximum range of 430km and service ceiling of 5,700m.