The Atlanta Police Department has signed a $10 million purchase agreement for two MD 530F helicopters. The department also signed an agreement to convert one of its MD 500E helicopters to an MD 530F through MD Helicopter’s FAA-approved E-to-F conversion program.
Modernizing Atlanta PD's Eyes in the Sky
The purchase and conversion will allow the department to standardize and modernize its fleet, "reducing risk, improving safety, and increasing operational efficiency at a low operating cost,” said Atlanta Police Sgt. Chris Newman of the Aviation Unit. "This will allow the helicopters to be airborne more frequently contributing to the department’s mission of creating a safer Atlanta.”
The two new MD 530F helicopters will be delivered next year. The MD 500E will remain in service until the 530Fs are operational. The 500E will go through a three-month conversion process.
Upgrades to the Helicopters
Updated from the MD 500E, the MD 530F model delivers increased operational capabilities, greater mission versatility, and superior performance with a more powerful RR250-C30 engine, upgraded main rotor gearbox, and upgraded tail rotor drive shaft, according to a press release.
The E-to-F conversion program upgrades the MD 500E to an MD 530F by replacing the engine, gearbox, and drive shaft as well as adding new main and tail rotor blades. All three Atlanta Police Department aircraft will feature a higher 3,350 lb gross weight, increased cruise speed, improved flight characteristics in confined areas, and lower direct operating costs compared to the older aircraft. Each of the department’s MD helicopters will also include a tactical mapping system, an IR-capable camera system, a searchlight, and a downlink system.