The U.S. Army’s Black Hawk helicopters are less capable for some missions conducted by Afghanistan’s Air Force than the Russian-made ones they’re replacing, Pentagon’s inspector general said in its latest report.
According to the report, Black Hawks do not have the lift capability of the Russian aircraft.
In addition, Black Hawks “are unable to accommodate some of the larger cargo items the Mi-17 can carry, and in general it takes almost two Black Hawks to carry the load of a single Mi-17”.
The Pentagon Inspector General says, “Unlike the Mi-17, Black Hawks cannot fly at high elevations and, as such, cannot operate in remote regions of Afghanistan where Mi-17s operate.”
But the Afghan Defense Ministry says the Black Hawks choppers have a special maneuver capability than Mi-17.
“The U.S.-made Black Hawks are having an efficient, speedy and powerful transport capability,” said Mohammad Radmanish, a spokesman for the ministry of defense.
At the same time, Asadullah Nadim, an Afghan military expert said that there are more than ten types of Black Hawks. He added that the U.S. hasn’t provided modern Black Hawks to the Afghan Air Force (AAF).
The AAF has been flying the Russian-made chopper since the 1980s.
During the last couple of years, the U.S. lawmakers urged U.S. officials to stop buying the Mi-17, the Russian-made helicopters, for Afghanistan in light of Moscow’s interventions abroad.
The AAF UH-60 Black Hawk crews conducted their first operational mission in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan on May 2018.