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MD Helicopters, Inc. (MDHI) featured an enhanced combat aircraft — its MD 969 twin attack helicopter – at the 2019 Army Aviation Mission Solutions Summit (formerly AAAA), which took place April 14 to 16, 2019, at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Casino in Nashville, Tennessee.
First introduced last month at HAI Heli-Expo 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia, MDHI has enhanced the military capabilities of its twin engine MD 969 with the addition of a custom, seven-shot Common Launch Tube (CLT) System designed by Systima Technologies.
“Powerful, agile and elegant, the MD 969 is first and foremost an advanced twin engine light attack helicopter that delivers impressive endurance, speed, maneuverability, and unmatched safety,” said Lynn Tilton, chief executive officer for MD Helicopters, Inc. “With the integration of this innovative and adaptable Common Launch Tube System – a capability not currently offered on any light attack helicopter – the MD 969 will be a true force multiplier; creating the performance and capability benchmark for future twin-engine light attack helicopter advancements.”
Able to deploy a range of guided munitions, sensors and small UAS/UAVs, the MD 969 CLT System can be configured with up to seven lightweight AGM-176 Griffin missiles, making it one of the deadliest, precision-strike attack helicopters in its class. Subsequent CLT payloads, including a range of munitions and tactical off-board sensors (TOBS), will further expand the operational profile of the MD 969 twin attack helicopter.
“The CLT is part of a flexible, roll-on/roll-off launch system that is easily integrated into existing platforms,” said Tom Prenzlow, president, Systima Technologies, Inc. “The highly capable launcher has already allowed SOCOM forces to rapidly field a wide range of precision weapons and sensors necessary to support their people. We’re excited to be working with MD Helicopters to bring this level of mission flexibility to the MD 969 twin attack helicopter.”
In addition to precision munitions like the Griffin, the Systima Common Launch Tube System will also allow MD 969 operators to launch ground sensors and sonobuoys, as examples, thereby expanding operational capabilities related to border patrol and piracy prevention. The ability to launch small UAS/UAV will provide increased situational awareness for both ground and air-based warfighters when line of sight is obstructed or on-board sensors are insufficient. This functionality will be a game-changer for light attack helicopter operations.
“I am proud of the rapid pace of our innovation which incorporated this adaptable launch capability into the MD 969 twin attack helicopter,” Tilton continued. “Our focus on delivering the right aircraft to the battlefield in real time is the driving force behind our technology roadmap. With partners like Systima Technologies who share our commitment to serving the warfighter and our passion for delivering innovation and excellence, I am confident the next generation of MD Helicopters military aircraft will be as iconic and enduring as those that came before.”