New Mi-17s Arrive for Afghan Air Force

The Afghan air force took delivery of three new-build Mi-17 helicopters at Kabul International Airport, according to a release from NATO air advisors. The three helicopters arrived disassembled on Sept. 1 in the belly of a Russian Antonov An-124 transport that brought them directly from the manufacturer. They are the first of 12 new Mi-17s that the Afghans are expected to receive in the coming months, states the Sept. 2 release. After the Afghans assemble the helicopters over the next several weeks, two of them will travel on to Kandahar Airfield, while the third remains in Kabul. “The significance of having these aircraft is each unit will have helicopters with only one variation,” said Maj. Greg Douglas, deputy commander of the NATO Air Training Command-Afghanistan’s J4-M organization. “This streamlines the process for maintenance, operations and training,” he said. (Kabul report by SSgt. Torri Ingalsbe)