The first two Afghan air force pilots to complete the 16-month basic aviator training in the United States are now qualified as co-pilots of the Mi-17 helicopter, the primary rotary-wing asset in the AAF’s fleet. First Lieutenant Abdul Saboor Amin and 1st Lt. Ahmad Fawad Haidari completed their first check-ride—the halfway mark in their Mi-17 training—earlier this month over Kabul, demonstrating their control and understanding of the aircraft. “I would give them the highest marks I can hand out,” said USAF Lt. Col. Mace Kant, an Mi-17 pilot advisor and the instructor pilot on the check-ride. “The first check-ride is always the hardest because you learn the aircraft the most and it encompasses the most studying and learning, but they did very well.” (Kabul release)
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.