The United States has approved a new contract worth $76.7 million in support of the Afghan Air Force as efforts are underway to boost the capabilities of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. (Photo: US Defense Forces in Middle East)
A statement by the Department of Defense said “MD Helicopters Inc., Mesa, Arizona, was awarded a $76,700,001 firm-fixed-price foreign military sales (Afghanistan) contract for contractor logistics support for the MD 530F aircraft fleet in support of the Afghanistan Air Force.”
The statement further added “One bid was solicited and one bid received. Work will be performed in Mesa, Arizona; and Afghanistan, with an estimated completion date of May 31, 2018.”
“Fiscal 2017 other funds in the amount of $37,583,000 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-17-C-0038),” the statement added.
This comes as efforts are underway by the Afghan government and the international allies of Afghanistan to increase the air power of the Afghan security forces.
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, saying “Going forward, transitioning from Russian to U.S. airframes will ensure Afghan forces have a more sustainable fleet that is interoperable with U.S. forces and will enhance the Afghans’ ability to operate independently of coalition forces. The U.S. government is considering a critical AAF initiative to replace the unsustainable Russian-manufactured aircraft fleet and make up for combat losses in Afghan transport helicopters by providing U.S. UH-60s.”
He 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. 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.”