MD Helicopters has ended the development of its MD 540A armed reconnaissance and light attack rotorcraft but will move forward with plans to develop its larger MD 6XX platform. The company will continue to offeri its current MD 530F and MD 530G models, which shared the same basic model 369 airframe as the planned MD540A. Known as the MD540F when it was unveiled in in early 2012 the MD540A was originally scheduled to be certified and production ready by early 2016. The contractor slipped the schedule by around a year in January 2014 for unspecified reasons and in July 2015 it revealed that the helicopter would fly in late-2017. The design of the MD540 included a 600shp (447.4kW) Rolls-Royce 250-C47E/3 turboshaft engine that drove the same six-blade main rotor and rotor head that was used by the MD600N and provided a significant increase in payload and performance. To accommodate the additional weight the design included the MD600N’s stronger landing skids. The single-engine MD6XX will be a new design that will feature more advanced capabilities and a wider performance envelope. MD Helicopters unveiled the MD6XX concept helicopter earlier this year.
Photo: The MD 6XX. MD Helicopters