MD Explorer Multirole Helicopter, United States of America

The MD Explorer features a composite airframe for resisting corrosion in a hostile marine environment

The MD Explorer is a twin-engine multirole helicopter manufactured by MD Helicopters. The helicopter is used for law enforcement, Emergency Medical Service (EMS), passenger transport and utility missions. The Explorer is also operated by international military and coastal patrol authorities.

Development of MD Explorer 900 (initially known as MDX) was formally announced in January 1989. The helicopter made its first flight in December 1992. The MD Explorer 902, an enhanced version of Explorer 900, was introduced in September 1997.

The MD Explorer is certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), Russia's Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK) and Brazil's National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) for conducting Category A and single pilot IFR operations.

The helicopter is in service with West Yorkshire Police, South Yorkshire Police, Greater Manchester Police, Humberside Police Authority, Belgian Federal Police, Luxembourg Police, US Drug Enforcement Administration and the Mexican Navy.

Design of the MD Explorer

The MD Explorer features a composite airframe for resisting corrosion in a hostile marine environment. The helicopter offers protection against high intensity radiated fields and lightning strikes. It is the first all new design to integrate the NOTAR (NO TAil Rotor) system. The landing gear includes non-retractable skids.

The helicopter has a length of 9.86m, width of 1.62m, rotor diameter of 10.31m and height of 3.66m. The empty weight of the helicopter in standard configuration is 1,531kg. The maximum payload that can be carried is 1,599kg.

Cockpit and avionics of the twin-engine multirole helicopter

"The MD Explorer 902, an enhanced version of Explorer 900, was introduced in September 1997."

The spacious cockpit of MD Explorer accommodates two crew members on energy absorbing seats in side-by-side arrangement. The helicopter will be fitted with a newly developed single-pilot IFR-capable integrated flight deck.

The new cockpit will feature a Primary Flight Display (PFD) providing the primary flight data, primary engine / rotor characteristics and safety critical indicators. The advanced capabilities will include synthetic vision system, electronic charts and maps.

The system will be offered in various cockpit versions complementing single and dual pilot operations. The upgraded avionics suite includes an AHR150A Air Data Attitude Heading Reference System (ADAHRS).

The navigation and communication systems include Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELT), global navigation and global positioning systems, weather radar, traffic avoidance system, a moving map and enhanced ground proximity warning systems (EGPWS).

Cabin features of MD Helicopters' aircraft

MD Explorer offers a spacious cabin that is the largest in the light twin class. The cabin is accessed through two sliding cabin doors and a large baggage compartment.

"The Explorer is also operated by international military and coastal patrol authorities."

The large jettisonable windows on doors offer high visibility to the passengers. Six passenger seats are fitted to the ceiling and floor. The energy absorbing seats meet the FAR Part 27.562 standards.

Individual seats can be interchanged and folded to store additional cargo. The removal or installation of seats can be performed in about three minutes without the help of tools. The flat floor features 24 cargo tie-downs and can resist strong vertical forces during emergency landings with 1,500lb payloads.

The large cabin enables the helicopter to rapidly change its role from passenger transport to EMS or law enforcement missions. The law enforcement versions are fitted with a public address system, FLIR 8500 system, search light, personnel hoist and wire strike protection kit.

MD Explorer engine details

The MD Explorer is powered by two Pratt and Whitney Canada PW207E turboshaft engines, driving a fully articulated main rotor system. The NOTAR system fitted to the helicopter provides anti-torque control, while minimising pilot workload and external noise levels. The engine is equipped with an engine fire suppression system.

Fuel is supplied from a crash-resistant elastomeric fuel tank with a capacity to store 602L of Jet A fuel. The power plant is controlled by a single channel Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) system.

Performance of the MD Explorer multimission helicopter

The MD Explorer helicopter can fly at a maximum cruise speed of 258km/h. The maximum operating altitude of the helicopter is 20,000ft. The maximum rate of climb is 14m/sec. The helicopter has a maximum range of 608km and endurance of 3.7 hours.

Defence Technology

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