The Department of Defense (Pentagon) disclosed its latest budget request for Afghanistan which includes the funding request to support the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, specifically the Afghan Special Mission Wing (SMW).
The budget request for Afghanistan, titled Justification for FY 2021 Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) Afghanistan Security Forces Fund, confirms the procurement of 10 CH-47 Chinook helicopters for the Afghan Special Forces, Special Mission Wing (WMW).
“The SMW is critical for air assault operations, as the SMW is the only unit that operates helicopters at night enabling the ANASOC and the GCPSU to operate during periods of darkness,” the budget request reads. “This request funds procurement of CH-47 helicopters to transition the SMW from Russian-made Mi-17s helicopters to US-made, interoperable helicopters, solidifying the SMW’s role as a key counterterrorism partner force.”
It also added “The equipment and transportation request includes equipment that is essential for the continued development and maturation of the ASSF. The request procures 10 CH-47 rotary wing aircraft as well as supporting parts, supplies, and equipment.”
According to Pentagon the CH-47 provides the ASSF the ability to continue Counterterrorism Operations as the SMW transitions away from Russian manufactured rotary wing aircraft. “As the SMW transitions away from Russian manufactured rotary wing aircraft, the procurement of CH-47 aircraft fills a medium/heavy-lift capability gap.”
“The CH-47 medium/heavy lift aircraft provides an interoperable capability that enables helicopter assaults of Afghan special forces into remote areas, and is the most cost effective and sustainable solution to solve the capability gap,” the budget request concludes, adding that this procurement enables DoD to end funding of Afghanistan’s Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters once the CH-47s are integrated into the fleet.
Pentagon also added “The request will modernize the PC-12 fleet to address critical aviation capability gaps in aerial ISR and communications.”