Even though advising footprint has shrunk in Afghanistan and the Train Advise Assist Command-Air is based out of Kabul, some 40 US airmen and soldiers travel to Kandahar nearly every day to advise one of the Afghan Air Force’s air wings on matters ranging from maintenance to base security. With a small presence in the country, manning is very tight and airmen must be familiar with each other’s roles, responsibilities, and progress in their respective tasks, TAAC-Air officials note. The Kandahar Air Wing provides a wide range of capability for the AAF, such as air support and casualty evacuation for the Afghan military. USAF advisors acknowledge that after years of effort there is notable progress in building crew operations concepts for their Mi-17 helicopters, as well as working towards maintenance autonomy and conducting heavy 50-hour and 100-hour inspections on their own. While some areas, such as security forces, require fewer advisors, other missions, such as C-208 operations, require more attention as the Afghans have less experience flying the aircraft than the Mi-17.
In a nighttime ceremony contrived to continue concealment of many of its features, the new B-21 bomber rolled out of Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif. plant Dec. 2. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the aircraft's advanced technology represents "deterrence, the American way."