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In a major boost, AAF gets 6 armed helicopters

In a major boost, AAF gets 6 armed helicopters

Mar 22, 2015 - 22:26

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): In a significant boost, the first six of 17 armed helicopters have been delivered to the nascent Afghan Air Force (AAF), NATOinfo-icon said on Sunday.

The MD-530F Cayuse Warrior helicopters are scheduled for delivery over the next several months. The delivery marks a milestone in efforts to supply military aircraft to the AAF.

In a statement, NATO hailed the delivery as a success for Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistaninfo-icon (CSTC-A) and the advisors training and assisting Afghan pilots.

Discussions for the MD-530 began in June 2014, when NATO Air Command-Afghanistan (NAC-A) was asked by the ISAFinfo-icon commander to look at ways to deliver the AAF organic combat airpower capability by summer 2015.

Lt. Col. Robert Mitchell, CSTC-A foreign military sales logistics branch chief, said: “There is an incredible amount of communication between agencies with equity just to make one case work correctly.”

The MD-530F Cayuse Warrior helicopters will continue to be in the AAF inventory even after other systems, like the 20 A-29 Super Tucano are brought into service.

From the factory in Arizona, the helicopters were transported by US military cargo aircraft to a port where a contracted air carrier delivered the shipment to the Hamid Karzai International Airport. 

Since its inception, the MD-500 line of aircraft has been used by the militaries of 15 nations including five current and former ISAF and Resolute Support partner nations.

Seen as ideal for Afghanistan’s security needs, the helicopters' number offers high visibility to aircrews allowing them to quickly identify targets and safely operate.  It can also operate at high-altitude.

Easy to maintain and featuring low operating costs, the MD-530 helicopter are an economical and effective choice to deliver pinpoint fire support for ground units.

The arrival of the armed aircraft comes at a critical time when Afghan forces prepare for the spring fighting season. 


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