The NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan informed regarding the arrival of the first Black Hawks late on Monday.
In a short statement posted online, the alliance said “The first Afghan Air Force UH-60s arrived today at Kandahar Air Field. The AAF is transitioning from the Mi-17 to the UH-60 as part of recapitalization efforts to modernize the helicopter fleet.”
The statement further added “Recapitalization will provide the means to further develop professional, capable and sustainable Afghan Air Power.”
The alliance had earlier said “The first of 4 UH-60’s has completed its final technical evaluations and will be delivered to the Afghan Air Force in September.”
The Afghan government and the country’s international allies including US and NATO have stepped up efforts to bolster the capabilities of the Afghan force and Air Force.
The commander of the United States Central Command General Joseph L. Votel requested the US Congress to approve the budget for the Afghan forces Blackhawk program.
In his statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier in March this year, Gen. Votel informed regarding the significant capability gaps in Afghan Air Force and said “The DoD-request of $814.5M for FY17 for the first year of our plan to recapitalize the Afghan fleet provides funding to procure 53 UH-60s, with refurbishment and modification of the first 18; 30 additional armed MD-530F helicopters; 6 additional A-29 attack aircraft; and five AC-208s.”
He also added that the requested FY2017 Afghan Security Forces Fund (ASFF) budget, including the 23 additional funds for the first year of this proposed aviation initiative, went to Congress on 10 Nov 2016.