Home Air Lebanon receives six MD 530 Little Bird helicopters from the US

Lebanon receives six MD 530 Little Bird helicopters from the US

Lebanon MD 530 delivery
Lebanese Air Force MD 530s at Beirut air base on October 6, 2021. Photo: Lebanese Army

The Lebanese Air Force has taken delivery of six MD 530F scout attack helicopters from MD Helicopters, who delivered them under a US Army contract from October 2018.

Also referred to as Little Birds, the helicopters arrived at Beirut Air Base aboard a Boeing 747 freighter on October 6.

The company delivered the airframes as part of a wider $120 million defense equipment delivery program announced by the US in 2017.

“The Lebanese Army received six helicopters (MD-530F +) provided as a gift from the United States of America, in the presence of a number of officers and members of the Defense Cooperation Office at the American Embassy in Lebanon,” the Lebanon Army said in a statement on Wednesday.

The helicopters were delivered after a year-long delay, and half a year after first Lebanese Air Force pilots successfully completed their training class at MD Helicopters. This was the first of three classes that included pilots, maintainers, and armament personnel, which took place in Mesa, Arizona, and an off-site location for gunnery training.

Lebanese Air Force pilots during training delivered by the company in Mesa, Arizona. Photo: MD Helicopters

The armed MD 530s delivered to Lebanon feature an all-glass cockpit that includes Genesys Aerosystems LCD primary displays, Tek Fusion Global’s Pathfinder mission management system and Ares weapons management systems.

The helicopters also have 62mm ballistic armor protection, FN Herstal .50 caliber HMP 400 machine gun pods, M260 7-shot rocket pods, 70mm/2.75” APKWS (Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System) rockets, WESCAM MX-10D EO/IR laser designators, Scorpion helmet-mounted cueing systems from Thales, and the Harris Falcon III RF-7850A-MR radios.

Black Hall Aerospace will be providing training and technical support to the Lebanese Air Force needed to field and sustain the helicopters through March 2026, under a $26.9 million contract from September 2021.