The addition of new attack helicopters boosts the Afghan airpower. Six MD-530 helicopters recently handed over by the US through Resolute Support (RS) to Afghan Air Force (AAF) increases ANDSF’s air superiority in fighting against the enemies of peace.
Expanding air mobility and close air attack vital for supporting ground forces are the Afghan Government’s priority. MD-530, a light helicopter with heavy firepower, can be used to curb terrorist activities around the country.
At the handover ceremony, the Afghan National Army (ANA) previous Chief of Staff, General Shir Mohammad Karimi, explained the strength these new helicopters bring to the ANDSF. “We shouldn’t look at the size of these aircrafts, but their strength, power and activity in the battlefield. The ability of the Afghan Air Force is rising, and these helicopters can support all the ANDSF on the ground.”
Gen Karimi further explained Afghan airpower’s capability. “Early, we started with transportation aircrafts, but now we have eighteen PC-12 reconnaissance planes and six attack helicopters equipped with deadly weapons and ability to fly in the valleys and mountains. Afghan Air Force currently has eleven attack helicopters including five MD 530 choppers used for training pilots,” he said. “We are expecting to receive six more helicopters within the next three months.”
General John F. Campbell, Commander of RS in Afghanistan, reiterated the International Community’s commitment in equipping the ANDSF. “This is a remarkable day. We are handing over the MD-530 attack helicopters to the Afghan Air Force. This brings a great capability to close air support gap for the Afghan Air Force to support the Army and the Police on the ground.”
Gen Campbell said the helicopters were very versatile and lethal weapons. “I am very proud of the Afghan Army and the Police for their dedication to protecting the people of Afghanistan, and they demonstrated their courage in the recent operations down in Northern Helmand province.”
“We continue to bring more aircraft to the Afghan Air Force to make them a capable and supportive force. My message to the insurgents, who harm the Afghan people, is to think again; this is a great capability in support of the Afghan security forces.” Gen Campbell continued.
The Afghan Air Force Commander, General Abdul Wahab Wardak, thanked the United States for its commitment to supporting and equipping the Afghan Air Force. “AAF is playing an important role in providing air support to the ANDSF operations all over the country,” he said at the ceremony.