Afghan Air Force helicopter pilotsÂ and crews in Kandahar began learning how to plan, handle and execute Mi-17 helicopterÂ live weapons fireÂ byÂ firing more thanÂ 100Â air-to-ground rockets.
The ground and flight trainingÂ was first given toÂ NATO advisors in Kandahar byÂ the Combined Air Power Transition Force serving shoulder-to-shoulder with the Afghan Air Force in Kabul.Â The basic air-to-ground missile skills and tacticsÂ will be passed on to the Afghan Air Force (AAF) Â Kandahar Air Wing (KAW) for future security and stability operations.
TheÂ NATO Training Mission-AfghanistanÂ maintenance advisors were then able to train the Afghan Air Force Kandahar Air Wing’s KAWâ€™s armament personnel.
KAWâ€™s maintainers demonstrated the ability to safely handle and load the rockets onto the Mi-17s with engines running. As KAWâ€™s aviators skills and professionalism increase, theyÂ willÂ use the rockets using the AAF development concept of: “For, With, By.”
At this point, only NATO advisors are trained to fire the rockets; however, the KAW pilots appear motivated to catch up.
â€œOverall, this increases the KAWâ€™s ability to provide for their own security for Mi-17sâ€™ missions to medium risk landing zones when NATO escorts are not available. This is marked progress in developing the AAF ability to self-generate combat capability.” said Col. Bernard Mater, 738th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group commander.
Assistance was also provided by Regional Command-South-Kandahar, Commander of Kandahar Air Field and the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing to safely execute this training on August 27 and 28, 2010. No misfires or safety violations occurred.
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