Afghanistan helicoptersThe Ministry of Defense (MoD) officials have said transport planes are used to carry out airstrikes against the Taliban insurgents due to the lack of fighter planes to provide close air support.

Gen. Afzal Aman, Chief of Operations for the Afghan Ministry of Defense, said the transport planes have been armed with weapons and are deployed to provide air support for the ground force.

He said the Afghan Air Force needs training which could not be achieved with short term courses and insisted that it would be difficult to have a proper air force within a short span of time.

Gen. Aman also added that more investments would be required to boost the capacity of the air force in order to maintain and operate the planes properly.

This comes as the Afghan Air Force officially received armed MD-530 helicopters from the United States earlier in April this year.

Pentagon awarded MD Helicopters Inc. a maximum $44.2 million firm-fixed-price contract last year to develop and provide an armament package for the MD-530F helicopters that were already supplied to the Afghan Air Force.

Around 17 of the Afghan Air Force’s MD-530F helicopter will be upgraded under the contract which is expected to be completed early next year.

MD-530F helicopters are designed for high altitude and/or hot weather operations, where thinner air costs helicopters some of their lift.