close air support for troops in contact with insurgents. Currently the Afghan Air Force (AAF) has about six CAS aircraft. These six aircraft, of which at any given time only 2 to 3 can fly, are the aged Mi-35 HIND Attack Helicopter. It is estimated that the service life of these helicopters ends at the end of 2015. So after 13 years the Afghans still do not have an effective aerial COIN platform in sufficient numbers with which to provide close air support. Does anyone see anything wrong with this picture?
The first close air support aircraft that the Afghans will be able to use is still a year or two away from being fielded. In September 2014 the first A-29 Super Tucano (1st of 20) was delivered to Moody Air Force Base in preparation for the Afghanistan pilot and maintenance training mission. The A-29 is a light air support aircraft that the Afghans desperately need now and could have used several years ago; long before the U.S. air support got withdrawn. Read more in "A-29 Super Tucano arrives at Moody AFB", U.S. Air Force news release, September 26, 2014.