More Afghan U-28s

Afghan special operations forces will get five additional Pilatus PC-12 signals intelligence gathering aircraft under a foreign military sale contract worth up to $9.3 million, the Defense Department announced March 18. The Air Force awarded Sierra Nevada Corp. an initial $218 million contract for 18 SIGINT PC-12s, according to a DOD contract announcement back in 2012. The Afghan National Army’s Special Operations Forces are scheduled to receive the first block of 18 aircraft this summer, with the five newly ordered airframes arriving by the end of the year, according to DOD. The modified fleet is based on the same airframe as Air Force Special Operations Command’s U-28 intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft. The Afghan Air Force also received the first of 20 armed MD-530 light attack helicopters earlier this week to augment its limited close air support capability until A-29 deliveries begin later this year, IHS Jane’s reported.