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AAF drops 1st laser-guided bomb on Taliban

AAF drops 1st laser-guided bomb on Taliban

Mar 28, 2018 - 10:54

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): In a first, the Afghan Air Force (AAF) tasked the A-29 squadron to destroy a Talibaninfo-icon compound in western Farah province.

The Afghan attack pilots were equipped with guided and unguided bombs, and elected to employ the GBU-58 laser-guided bomb to avoid collateral damage.

A statement from the Resolute Support Mission said the drop resulted in a direct hit along the route of a major Afghan National Army clearing operation.

The March 22 strike marked the first time the AAF dropped a laser-guided bomb in combat.The AAF used the laser-guided technology because of the target’s close proximity to civilians.

The success comes just three months after the AAF completed training to employ a laser-guided bomb. AAF weapons personnel and crew chiefs loaded, armedand launched the aircraft with minimal advisor input.

“The Afghan pilots have learned their trade during combat and our advisors have expanded their skills in a deliberate step by step approach increasing the Afghan Air Force capability and this recent laser-guided bomb strike is an example of the success of the AAF and TAAC-Air’s efforts,” said Brig Gen. Phillip A. Stewart, Train Advise, Assist Command-Air commander.

The AAF pilots who conducted the operation were from Kabul Air Wing’s Kandahar A-29 detachment. The AAF also assisted the ANA in destroying equipment the Taliban had stolen.


The AAF gained the capability to conduct airstrikes just over two years ago; first with the MD-530 attack helicopter in August 2015, followed by the A-29 Super Tucano in April 2016.

Today, the AAF flies around 100 sorties each day, and around 10 percent are strikes.The ability to conduct laser-guided strikes is part of Resolute Support’s plan to develop a professional, capable, and sustainable AAF, giving the country a lethal advantage over the enemy.

While the AAF has the ability to employ laser-guided munitions in combat, they won’t always use this technology. The AAF is able to successfully strike within ten meters of a target without laser guidance.

“Most of the enemy targets in Afghanistaninfo-icon can be engaged effectively by the Afghan Air Force using non-precision weapons,” said Brig. Gen. Phillip A. Stewart, Train, Advise and Assist Command-Air commander.

“The AAF has demonstrated again and again that their pilots, using the A-29 and the skills they have learned from our advisors and perfected through combat experience, that they can drop non-precision weapons within 10 meters of their targets…”

 The rapid growth and training of the AAF is expected to continue over the next six years. Currently, it is around 8,000 members, with 129 aircraft.

That will grow to a force of 11,000; the fleet is expected to triple in size as part of President Ashraf Ghani’s roadmap, according to the statement.


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