The size of the Afghan Air Force will be tripled by 2023 as efforts are underway to boost the capabilities of the Afghan Air Forces which have proven as effective and lethal in the fight against terrorism, a senior US General has said.
U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Lance Bunch, the direcotr of the future operations, told reporters on Tuesday that the Afghan forces conducted their combat operations through 2017 with the lowest level of support from the coalition forces in the 16-year war here, and yet has had some of the most success they’ve ever had, showing they are, in fact, leading the fight and we are there to advise and enable them.
He said “Key pieces that you’re seeing is that the Afghan Air Force itself, one of the more lethal organizations they have, and one that we’re looking to triple in size by 2023, is conducting significantly more air operations in direct support of the ANDSF on the battlefield, to the tune of 500 more sorties this year than they did the year before.”
“And so we are currently able to work with and enable the Afghan National Defense Forces as they conduct successful combat operations on the battlefield. We’re working with the Afghan Air Force to continue to build their capacity,” Gen. Bunch added.
According to Gen. Bunch, the first four UH-60 Black Hawks were delivered to the Afghan Air Force, and the first six pilots have already graduated from training.
“We expect to have eight full crews at the beginning of the fighting season in 2018. And those Black Hawk helicopters are just the first of up to 159 that we’re going to provide them,” he said.