Latvia will purchase four MD 530F light attack and reconnaissance helicopters intended for the Latvian National Armed Forces from the United States, intended for providing close air support and which can be armed. The purchased light attack helicopters will help carry out air operations against enemy targets at close range, provide air support for combat search and rescue operations, as well as carry out tactical reconnaissance and transport operations. In peacetime, however, these helicopters will be used to maintain the qualifications of Latvian Air Force pilots of the National Armed Forces.
It is expected that Latvia will receive a full cost offer from the manufacturer in the first half of next year, then it will be possible to agree on a specific delivery term. It has already been reported that Latvia has purchased four Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk medium-lift utility military helicopter, which replace the physically and morally outdated Soviet-made Mil Mi-17 (NATO reporting name: Hip) military helicopter aircraft, which were used for search and rescue operations, aerial firefighting, medical evacuation and air transport, as well as for support in training operations.
The MD 530F is a light attack and reconnaissance helicopter manufactured by MD Helicopters (formerly McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Systems). It was developed as a successor to the MD 500E light utility helicopter. The MD Helicopters MD 500 series is an American family of light utility civilian and military helicopters. The MD 500 was developed from the Hughes 500, a civilian version of the US Army’s OH-6A Cayuse/Loach. The series currently includes the MD 500E, MD 520N, and MD 530F. Following the 1997 Boeing-McDonnell Douglas merger, Boeing sold the former MD civil helicopter lines to MD Helicopters in early 1999. Military variants are marketed under the MD 500 Defender name.
The MD 530F helicopter is a five-blade, four-passenger, single engine, single pilot capable, multipurpose aircraft specifically designed for meeting extreme requirements in hot-temperature, highaltitude operations. The MD 530F uses a single Rolls-Royce 650 shaft horsepower (shp) turboshaft engine is currently in use globally by commercial, government, and foreign military operators. The cabin is optionally compatible with night vision googles (NVGs) and also includes all the required civil and tactical communications and navigation systems. In addition, the aircraft incorporates an enhanced glass cockpit design.