The Afghan Air Force (AAF) in northern Balkh province of Afghanistan has received two A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft as part of NATO’s efforts to bolster the capabilities of the Afghan forces in fight against terrorism.
The light attack aircraft have been deployed in Mazar-e-Sharif city, the provincial capital of northern Balkh province, amid deteriorating security situation in northern parts of the country.
The security has sharply deteriorated in northern Balkh and Kunduz provinces during the recent months with the security officials saying they are hopeful that the new equipments would help the Afghan forces to fill the gap of close-air support.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford earlier said that the addition of MD-530 helicopters and A-29 Super Tucano light attack fixed-wing aircraft to Afghan Air Force will make a difference as integration of aviation assets into the Afghan combined arms campaign will receive more attention this year.
This comes as the Afghan security forces in eastern Nangarhar province received two fixed-wing and two rotary-wing close-air support combat aircraft.
According to the security officials, the A-29s can carry heavy weapons to target the anti-government armed militants by carrying out precise airstrike using laser technology, 250 kgs of bombs, guided and unguided rockets.
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.
Eight Afghan Air Force pilots completed their training late last year 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.