The United States has awarded a contract worth around $727 million in support of the Afghan Air Force and Special Mission Wing as efforts are underway to boost the capabilities of the Afghan national defense and security forces.

“Leidos Innovation Corp., Gaithersburg, Maryland, was awarded a $727,689,796 firm-fixed-price contract to provide support for the Afghan Air Force (AAF) and Special Mission Wing (SMW) helicopter/fixed-wing fleets,” the Department of Defense said in a statement.

The statement further added that aids were solicited via the Internet with one received. Work will be performed in Kabul, Afghanistan, with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2020. Fiscal 2017 operations and maintenance (Army) funds in the amount of $126,689,243 were obligated at the time of the award.

This comes as the Afghan government and the country’s international allies including US and NATO have stepped up efforts to bolster the capabilities of the Afghan force and Air Force.

The commander of the United States Central Command General Joseph L. Votel requested the US Congress to approve the budget for the Afghan forces Blackhawk program.

In his statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier in March this year, Gen. Votel informed regarding the significant capability gaps in Afghan Air Force and said “The DoD-request of $814.5M for FY17 for the first year of our plan to recapitalize the Afghan fleet provides funding to procure 53 UH-60s, with refurbishment and modification of the first 18; 30 additional armed MD-530F helicopters; 6 additional A-29 attack aircraft; and five AC-208s.”

He also added that the requested FY2017 Afghan Security Forces Fund (ASFF) budget, including the 23 additional funds for the first year of this proposed aviation initiative, went to Congress on 10 Nov 2016.

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