Australia pledges support in set of Afghan Air Force Black Hawks fleet
By Khaama Press - Fri Jul 13 2018, 11:23 am
Payne reportedly made the new commitment during the meeting of the NATO leaders in Brussels on Thursday.
She has said a group of 20 Australian defence personnel are heading to Afghanistan to help the country set up a Blackhawk helicopter fleet.
“Australia is one of only a few nations in the international coalition currently flying Blackhawks and we will be able to provide qualified personnel to support the introduction of this important platform,” Payne said in a statement.
“The Blackhawks are a critical battlefield enabler that will provide the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces with increased air mobility and response capabilities for ground forces,” she added.
She has also added that Australia will also continue to fund Afghanistan’s current fleet of Mi-17 helicopters as it transitions to the Blackhawk through the Afghan National Army Trust Fund, to which we have contributed US$520 million ($704 million) since 2010.
This comes as efforts are underway by the Afghan government and the international allies of Afghanistan to boost the capabilities of the Afghan national defense and security forces, specifically the Afghan Air Force.
The coalition forces officials in Afghanistan had earlier said that the size of the Afghan Air Force will be tripled over the next five years with the addition of new equipment and aircraft.