New A-29s arrive in US for training of Afghan air force pilots
KABUL: A new wave of A-29 Super Tucanos arrived in support of the 81st Fighter Squadron’s training mission, April 24 and 26, it has been reported.
According to a report by the US Military, the A-29s will aid in the continuation of the Afghan light air support training mission, which ultimately provides Afghan pilots with the capabilities of finding, tracking, and attacking targets either on their own or in support of ground forces.
“The A-29 program has been an integral part of the US government’s overall ‘Building Partnership Capacity’ efforts around the world and immediately supports the development of an indigenous air force in Afghanistan,” said Brig. Gen. Christopher Craige, formally acting commanding general at Train, Advise, Assist Command-Air (TAAC-Air).
“This rapidly developed program for Afghanistan is unique for the A-29 development because this is the first time USAF pilots and maintainers have been trained as instructors to conduct training for Afghan students in the United States.”
Designed to operate in high temperatures and in extremely rugged terrain, the A-29 is a highly maneuverable fourth-generation weapons system capable of delivering precision guided munitions. The aircraft is being used by the Afghan air force (AFF) for close-air attack, air interdiction, escort and armed reconnaissance.
An AFF A-29 pilot, quoted in the report, said “The AAF plays a major role in this,” said one Afghan A-29 pilot.
“We are helping the peace process. When an A-29 is overhead, it gives motivation to the ground troops, and the enemy realizes they can be struck anywhere and will feel the pressure to come to the peace table. This is how we will bring peace and stability to Afghanistan.”