Afghan Pilot Training in UAE Set to Expand

The Raytheon Company has announced a new $13.5 million task order modification on its Warfighter Field Operations Customer Support (FOCUS) contract, which will add more Afghan Air Force pilots to the “New Dawn” training program, based in the United Arab Emirates. The program trains AAF officers up to a level-equivalent certified commercial pilot. Upon graduation, the pilots return to Afghanistan for service. A total of 102 AAF pilots have received English language instruction through the program, as well as advanced math, problem solving skills, and advanced instrument flight training as of Nov. 10. The program expansion comes as the US is transitioning its airpower footprint in Afghanistan to a support and enabling role, and the Afghans are increasing their participation in the training pipeline for AAF officers and fliers—taking over from US advisors in some cases.