Afghans Receive More Refurbished Helos

Three more Mi-35 attack helicopters for the Afghan National Army Air Corps arrived recently in Kabul, giving the fledgling air component 34 airframes—up from 13 in 2007—as it continues to grow with the help of multi-nation Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan. CSTC-A refurbished these three helicopters, which were donated from the Czech Republic. Three more Mi-35s of a total of 12 supplied by the Czechs are due next year. CSTC-A is spending about $38 million to refurbish all 12, US Forces Afghanistan said in a release Dec. 18. The Combined Air Power Transition Force is leading coalition efforts to rebuild the ANAAC utilizing two principles: recertifying already trained Afghan pilots and using refurbished Soviet aircraft that are familiar platforms to these pilots and crews. CAPTF has a campaign plan that runs out to 2016 to create a 7,000-strong air corps that is centered in Kabul and Kandahar. “We’re building air power, organizing training equipment, simultaneously building their command and control, and we’re also building bases, infrastructure and simple things we take for granted in our military,” said US Air Force Col. Dan Miller, CAPTF vice commander. He continued, “We are doing this simultaneously while this war is going on, so we can walk away knowing they are fully independent and operationally capable.” Future plans are for the ANAAC to receive 61 Mi-17V5 helicopters.