This will be first addition of fixed-wing combat aircraft in the Afghan Air Force (AAF) which is expected to expand the limited close-air support for the Afghan forces amid deteriorating security situation.
AAF is expecting to receive another four similar aircraft, A-29 Super Tucanos by the end of 2016 while the fleet will be further expanded to 20 by 2018.
According to a senior US defense official quoted in a report by US-based Army Times newspaper, the arrival of the new aircraft will give Afghanistan a chance to develop its own close-air support capability.
The official further added “I think it’s going to be a really important component in how they do aerial fires next year and the kind of overmatch they need to be able to have against a Taliban insurgency.”
“The critical piece of this is making sure that they have the human capital, the pilots, available to fly the platform,” the official added.
This comes as eight Afghan Air Force pilots completed their training recently and graduated from a program hosted by the 81st Fighter Squadron at Moody Air Force Base in United States and will return to Afghanistan for combat.
The A-29 is a multi-role, fixed-wing aircraft that will provide the Afghan air force with an indigenous air-to-ground capability and aerial reconnaissance capabilities to support the country’s counterinsurgency operations.