Afghanistan gets US-made Black Hawk helicopters

Lester Mason
October 7, 2017

"If the Taliban think they can defeat the Afghan forces they should forget about it".

Afghanistan on Saturday officially inducted four freshly-arrived US -made UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters into its nascent air force, which many saw as a much-needed boost in fire power in the battle against insurgents.

General John Nicholson, US and NATO Resolute Support commander in Afghanistan, also attended the ceremony.

The first UH-60s Black Hawks for the Afghan Air Force arrived in Kandahar airport last month.

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani is expected to take the delivery of the newly-deployed UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters for the Afghan forces today. Now that the country's air force capacity will be tripled under a new Afghan-U.S. military effort, and Afghan special operations forces will be doubled, he declared, "terrorists will not triumph here".

Nicholson said the militants in Afghanistan were getting weaker day-by-day. A variety of USA military aircraft including 159 UH 60 Black Hawks are being supplied by the United States, and a new cohort of Afghan combat pilots are being trained - or retrained after years of flying Soviet-era choppers - by American military and civilian advisers.

"While transitioning to the Black Hawk will not be a quick task, it will not be a hard task".

The Russian-designed Mi-17 helicopters that now form the backbone of the Afghan air force worked well for crews used to Russian equipment, but deteriorating relations between Moscow and Washington meant that the Americans were unable to provide new parts and aircraft to replace the overworked aircraft.

Pilots need several years of training to fly the Black Hawks, a process that is just beginning, and repairs must be made by American contractors for now.

The Black Hawks will cost the American government nearly $8 million a piece, officials said, after a process that completely refurbishes and upgrades US Army surplus aircraft. Members of the first class of six pilots said they were excited over what they view as more modern helicopters.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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