The Office of the Inspector General in Department of Defense echoed concerns regarding the misuse of Afghan Air Force fleet, in its quarterly to U.S. Congress.
The report on Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Afghanistan outlined the issues the U.S.-led training mission is facing in Afghanistan.
Citing the TAAC-Air report, the Inspector General added in its report that the Afghan Air Force had a total of 183 aircraft as of the end of the quarter of 2019, which has been growing each quarter, in accordance with the AAF Modernization Plan.
However, the report stated that a key concern for TAAC-Air advisors is misuse of the AAF fleet. “One indicator of misuse is aircraft utilization rates (average flight hours per aircraft per month).”
The report further added that the monthly utilization rates for the Mi-17 and MD-530 helicopters in September (38.6 and 31.8, respectively) far exceeded the manufacturer’s recommended rate, which is 25 hours per month for each aircraft, warning that the high utilization rates reveal a potential for more serious maintenance requirements in the future that could cause the helicopters to go out of service unexpectedly and remain unusable for an extended period.
“The AAF UH-60 monthly utilization rate in September, 19 hours, is below the recommended maximum of 35 hours per month,” the report said, adding that “TAAC-Air told the DoD OIG that not all AAF units have access to the data required to conduct effective fleet use and maintenance planning, which leads to overfly of utilization rates.”
The report also outlines shortfalls in how the Afghan Air Force is planning and operating. “TAAC-Air also reported that the AAF often fails to adhere to its own aircraft tasking process, resulting in delays in delivery of critical supplies.”
The TAAC-Air has also told the Inspector General that senior AAF officials often delay approval of supply requests, instead of adhering to established procedures for such authorizations which ‘lead to logistics inefficiencies which result in extended 2-3 day gaps whereby combat operations are
either halted or commanders are forced to take unacceptable risks’, according to report.