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    Afghan UH-60 Black Hawks will be mission ready this summer

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    Video by John Roberts 

    Resolute Support Headquarters

    KANDAHAR AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – The Afghan Air Force keeps getting stronger and this summer it is expected to start flying missions with its new fleet of UH-60 Black Hawks.

    Building the UH-60 program is all part of Resolute Support’s plan to make a professional, capable, and sustainable.

    It all started in September 2017 with the arrival of the first four UH-60 helicopters. That fleet has since expanded to 11, and will eventually grow to 159, 119 will belong to the Afghan Air Force, 40 will go to the Special Mission Wing.

    The first pilots graduated in November from the UH-60 Aircraft Qualification Training, completing the first phase of training. In that course, the pilots learned the basics of flying the aircraft, but they were not quite ready to fly missions. In May, they will be mission ready after they graduate from the follow-on Mission Qualification Training.

    During MQT, AAF pilots are introduced to the tactical employment of the UH-60 in support of combat operations. During this phase the Afghan pilots learn details of mission planning, aircraft combat capabilities, and aircraft weapons employment under different modes of flight and environmental conditions. Upon completion of MQT, AAF pilots will be able to perform combat operations in all environmental conditions, day or night.
    Sixteen pilots are expected to graduate along with 16 special mission operators, the enlisted crew that works in the back of the helicopter.

    “We are doing our best right now, so I think everyone, all of the pilots who will qualify will be ready for the mission,” said 2nd Lt. Shahpur Pazhman. Pazhman, 22, is the youngest pilot going through MQT.

    The Black Hawks will primarily support troop and cargo transport as well as carry out casualty evacuations and human remains transfer.

    The UH-60s are the A-Model variant, with engine upgrades to better meet the operational requirements of the region. Four Fixed Forward Fire UH-60s are expected to be delivered in 2019. These FFF aircraft will be able to provide some strike capability in addition to the transport function.

    It is important to note that once Afghans graduate and become mission ready, all combat mission are flown and led by Afghans.

    “In the past, the Afghan National Army relied on the coalition for air support. While the coalition is still present they can also rely on their own countrymen overhead,” said U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer – 3 Roger Hood, an air advisor with Train, Advise, Assist Command – Air.

    The Afghan Air Force is expecting to have four qualified crews by fighting season 2018, and 32 crews by fighting season 2019.

    “I can assure the people of Afghanistan that the missions will be accomplished,” said another UH-60 pilot in the MQT.

    As the UH-60 program builds, and the AAF pilots build their experience, the end goal is for the most seasoned and capable pilots to become instructor pilots and eventually train other Afghans creating a self-sufficient AAF training program.

    “When we joined the Afghan Air Force, on the first day we took the oath to serve our country and we are standing by our word,” said Pazhman.



    Date Taken: 03.14.2018
    Date Posted: 03.23.2018 05:18
    Category: B-Roll
    Video ID: 591097
    VIRIN: 180314-N-QG671-001
    Filename: DOD_105439315
    Length: 00:01:26
    Location: KANDAHAR, AF 

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