Afghanistan-MD-53FThe Afghan Air Force (AAF) will receive 12 additional MD-530 helicopters from the United States upgraded with the rocket pods.
According to the AAF officials, the delivery of the helicopters will begin in next month and will be completed over a period of 3 months.
The commander of the Afghan Air Force General Abdul Wahab Wardak said four helicopters will be each months from June to August.
The US army reportedly awarded a contract worth $13.2 million to add the seven-tube M260 launcher for the 70mm (2.75 inch) rockets to MD-530Fs to be supplied by the United States to the Afghan Air Force.
According to the reports emerging in mid-2015, 19 helicopters in total will have the rocket system added to the Mission Equipment Package (MEP) that already features twin FN Herstal 12.7 mm (.50 cal) Heavy Machine Gun Pods (HMPs).
MD-530F helicopters are designed for high altitude and/or hot weather operations to provide close-air support to the ground forces.
Meanwhile, the AAF officials said they have so far received 9 A-29 Super Tucano fixed wing light attack aircraft from the United States as well as surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle which are expected to further boost the capabilities of the Afghan forces.