The Afghan Air Force will receive four UH-60 helicopters with strike capability in 2019 as efforts are underway to increase the capabilities of the armed and air forces.

According to a report by the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission, the Afghan Air Force is currently having 11 Black Hawk helicopters which are expected to start operations in the near future.

The helicopters will be divided between the Afghan Air Force and the Special Mission Wing, which supports Commando ground operations.

The first batch of the Black Hawk helicopters pilots will be mission-ready in May as they are currently being trained during follow-on Mission Qualification Training.

According to the alliance, during MQT, AAF pilots are introduced to the tactical employment of the UH-60 in support of combat operations. During this phase the Afghan pilots learn details of mission planning, aircraft combat capabilities, and aircraft weapons employment under different modes of flight and environmental conditions. Upon completion of MQT, AAF pilots will be able to perform combat operations in all environmental conditions, day or night.

Sixteen pilots are expected to graduate along with an equal number of special mission operators, the enlisted crew that works in the back of the helicopter.

In 2019, aircraft with strike capability will be added to the fleet. Four Fixed Forward Fire UH-60s are expected to be delivered next year, which will be able to provide close air support to ground troops in addition to the transport function, the report adds.