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Two Afghan Air Force pilots prepare for flight next to an MD 350F helicopter in September 2015 in Afghanistan. US Army photo

The Afghan Air Force has ordered 12 additional MD 530F Cayuse Warrior helicopters, according to MD Helicopters. The company delivered the first dozen Cayuse Warrior helicopters to the Afghan Air Force to support the 2015 fighting season, less than nine months after the contract was first awarded. Five additional MD 530F helicopters that were being used as primary training aircraft in Afghanistan were upgraded to the Cayuse Warrior configuration, MD Helicopters said. “The MD 530F has played an integral role in building the capabilities of the Afghan Air Force and the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces since the first aircraft arrived in Shindand in 2011,” MD Helicopters CEO Lynn Tilton said in a release. “We are extremely proud of the Cayuse Warrior’s performance during the 2015 fighting season.” The aircraft is particularly effective for “hot-day, high-altitude operation,” according to the company’s website. The helicopters for Afghanistan will have enhanced mission packages, including tactical radio communications, a fixed-forward sighting system, ballistic armor panels, .50-caliber gun pods and 2.75-inch​ rocket capability.