The first three Afghan airmen to undergo specialized undergraduate pilot training in the United States graduated at Laughlin AFB, Tex. “I’m proud of my country and proud of the United States government, especially the Air Force, for providing this opportunity for our dreams to come true,” said one of the Afghan lieutenants who received his wings on Dec. 18. Selected from among more than 350 candidates, the airmen completed a year’s worth of intensive English language courses at JB San Antonio, Tex., before stepping onto Laughlin’s flight line. Over the last year, each flew roughly 200 hours in the T-6 Texan II, which amounted to more than 140 sorties. “Now I’m going back to Afghanistan with my wings as an official pilot,” summed one of the airmen. Upon returning to Afghanistan, all three pilots will begin advanced training on the C-27A airlifter. (Laughlin report by 2nd Lt. Angela Martin)
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.