News: Afghan C-27 fleet grows by 25% as 2 new aircraft arrive
Story by Capt. Robert Leese
KABUL, Afghanistan - Two new C-27A Spartan transport aircraft recently touched down on the flight line of the Afghan Air Force base in Kabul, Afghanistan bringing the fleet total up to eight on Nov 11.
The impact of new C-27 aircrafts will be seen almost immediately as there are several aircraft coming up on mandatory inspections and others that have small maintenance issues.
One of the new airframes is designed as a Distinguished Visitor aircraft. It is set up with 3 pallets specifically designed to carry VIP individuals in, around, and out of country.
The ability to transport DVs to outreaching areas is very important to the growth and credibility of the Afghan government.
This is one of the new mission sets of the fledgling AAF and will provide another option along with the presidential helicopters that are available.
Lt. Col. C. Mike Smith, 538th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron Commander explained, “A large contingent of both Afghan aircrew and U.S. advisors came out to meet the V.I.P. aircraft. When the aircraft finally taxied into the parking apron and we were able to open the back of the plane to look at the new modules, it was a sight to see. Three pallets of nicely arranged seats to include a private compartment for meetings fit very nicely into the cargo compartment.”
With the DV transport, the AAF should initially be able to produce another 2 flights a week until we have everyone familiar with its different characteristics. By the time this occurs, the AAF will receive even more aircraft and those that are in maintenance should be ready to hit the airways again.
With the arrival of the two aircrafts also come two U.S. Air Force pilots and one loadmaster advisor. The additional aircrew will replace the aircrew that are rotating home after completing their one year tour.
The squadron is reaching its one year anniversary and the initial cadre is on its way home. While it is sad to see them go, they have done amazing work since they got here. It is the job of the new advisors to continue training and advancing the AAF fixed wing aircrews.
Aircrews that have flown the modified C-27A can attest to its comfort and viability as a DV outreach asset.
The Afghan aircrew members are extremely excited about the mission and look forward to taking the Afghan leadership to new and uncharted territory to further the government’s goal of reaching out to its people.