MD Helicopters’ new armed scout helicopter, the MD 540F, will be powered by Rolls-Royce’s M250-C47E turboshaft engine.
The new engine offers 8% more power than the older M250-C47M powerplant and produces some 700shp (522kW), says company owner and chief executive Lynn Tilton.
It also offers a 5% improvement in hot and high performance and better specific fuel consumption rates throughout the aircraft’s flight envelope compared to the older engine.
MD claims that the Rolls-Royce powerplant will afford the MD 540F the ability to hover at a density altitude of 6,000ft (1,830m) and a temperature of 95°F (35°C).
Meanwhile, the MD 540F has made progress towards gaining Federal Aviation Administration certification at a weight of 4,100lbs (1,860kg), Tilton says. But, she adds, the helicopter will able fly at a heavier gross weight in military service.
The aircraft has also completed the first phase of live fire weapons trials. During the last week of February, the MD 540F performed 15 engagements with .50 caliber machine guns. Testing was also carried out on the aircraft’s L-3 Wescam MX-10D camera.
Further weapons trials are expected later this year with laser-guided rockets and Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire missiles.
MD says the MD 540F completed the US Army’s voluntary flight demonstration in September 2012 ahead of the possible launch of an armed aerial scout programme to replace the venerable Bell OH-58 Kiowa Warrior.