Afghan Air Force Maintainers Keep Helicopters Mission Ready

An Afghan Air Force maintenance professional ties down the propellers of an Mi-17 at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, May 7, 2018.
16 May 2018

By: 1st Lt. Erin Recanzone, Train, Advise and Assist Command-Air (TAAC-Air)

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Afghan maintainers with the Afghan Air Force (AAF) successfully repaired and returned to service, May 8, two Afghan Air Force Mi-17s helicopters that were damaged by an insurgent rocket attack on the airfield in January.

"We worked with the Afghans to do the full assessment and to prioritize how they would go about doing the repairs,” said Tech. Sgt. Mitchell Braswell, Aircraft Structural Maintenance advisor. "The Afghans led the repairs, we just guided them on which direction to go as far as priorities."

The Afghan Air Force has 22 Mi-17s that are operational. While the newly arrived UH-60 Black Hawk will eventually replace the capabilities currently provided by the Mi-17, the Afghan Air Force currently relies on these aircraft for cargo transport, casualty evacuation and strike missions like those that occurred in support of Afghan-led operations in Farah City, May 15 and 16.

UH-60 Black Hawk Afghan air crews began conducting operational missions May 8, but it will be approximately two years before this more modern and sustainable aircraft will fully replace the Mi-17. Until then, Mi-17 maintenance crews will continue to keep their aircraft operational and send a strong message to any adversaries.

"The enemy will know we’re capable of doing any kind of work,” said Afghan Air Force Capt. Faiz Mohammad, Sheet Metal Repairs commander. "We are stronger than the enemy, and they will not win."

Established in 2015, Resolute Support (RS) is a NATO-led, non-combat mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), who assumed nationwide responsibility for Afghanistan’s security following the conclusion of the previous NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission.  Its purpose is to help the Afghan security forces and institutions develop the capacity to defend Afghanistan and protect its citizens in a sustainable manner.

 

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