The Afghan Air Force is expected to receive 58 armed UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters as part of the $1 billion deal to provide 159 helicopters to the Afghan forces until 2024, it has been reported. (Photo: Stars and Stripes)
According to Stars and Stripes military newspaper, as part of the Black Hawk deal, UH-60A models are being upgraded to a UH-60A+ variant with more powerful engines. Fifty-eight of the aircraft will be fitted with additional rocket pods and machine guns to provide close air support like the Mi-17s.
Army Maj. Alexmi Lugo, a program manager with NATO’s Train, Advise, Assist Command-Air unit, has told the paper that the training of the Afghan pilots for the helicopters is underway.
This comes as the Afghan government with the support of its international allies and NATO has stepped up efforts to boost the capabilities of Afghan national defense and security forces, particularly the Afghan Air Force.
The NATO defense ministerial also concluded in Brussels last week with the Resolute Support mission mainly consisting train, advise, and assist mission to the Afghan forces being a part of the meeting.
According to a statement by the alliance, the Ministers also agreed on the importance of funding for the Afghan security forces, and welcomed Afghanistan’s intention to make further progress on reforms and reconciliation.
The NATO Secretary General ahead of the meeting had said the alliance will also review progress and discuss what more need to be done to enhance Afghan combat capabilities as he insisted that the alliance will stand united with the conditions-based approach.