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Afghan Air Force Begins First Black Hawk Operational Mission

(Last Updated On: May 10, 2018)

The Afghan Air Force (AAF) has conducted its first operational mission in Helmand province, using the newly delivered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.

According to a statement released by the Resolute Support (RS), the mission, which was in support of the Afghan provincial elections, took place just one day after the first 31 AAF members graduated from mission qualification training.

“The introduction of the UH-60 marks the dawning of a new age for the Afghan Air Force,” Brig. Gen. Phillip Stewart, head of Train, Advise and Assist Command-Air said. “Not only are these aircraft and students the physical embodiment of progress, but they also represent a generational shift from the older soviet-trained forces to the younger and more progressive western-trained and educated fleet.”

The AAF now has four qualified Black Hawk crews and 13 of these aircrafts.

According to Maj. Gen. Mohammad Shoaib, Afghan Air Force commander, the BlackHawks are ideal for Afghanistan because they are suitable for the terrain and weather, and they possess more modern technology.

The AAF will need crews for a planned 159 Black Hawks to be added to the air force and the special mission wing by 2021. It is expected that over 30 crews will be qualified by the spring of 2019.

“The Afghan Air Force has come a very long way in a very short time; this mission is further proof of the air crew’s hard work and dedication,” U.S. Air Force Col. Christopher Goodyear, 738th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group commander said.

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