Sunday, October 5, 2014

First Afghan A-29 Super Tucano Delivered to Moody AFB

The United States invaded Afghanistan the the fall of 2001 (13 years ago) and within months found itself in a counterinsurgency fight. It is a doctrinal truth that the best counterinsurgency forces are those from the host nation - the country where the insurgency is taking place. In this case - that is the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). One important aspect of countering an insurgency is having an aerial platform that can deliver effective 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that the Afghans desperately need now and could have used several years ago; long before the U.S. air support got withdrawn.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.

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