Afghan Air Force learning to fire rockets from helicopters in Kandahar

Afghan Air Force learning to fire rockets from helicopters in Kandahar 2 Sep, 10, Source: NATO Training Mission

Afghan Air Force helicopter pilots and crews in Kandahar began learning how to plan, handle and execute Mi-17 helicopter live weapons fire by firing more than 100 air-to-ground rockets.

The ground and flight training was first given to NATO advisors in Kandahar by the Combined Air Power Transition Force serving shoulder-to-shoulder with the Afghan Air Force in Kabul.  The basic air-to-ground missile skills and tactics will be passed on to the Afghan Air Force (AAF)  Kandahar Air Wing (KAW) for future security and stability operations.

The NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan maintenance advisors were then able to train the Afghan Air Force Kandahar Air Wing’s KAW’s armament personnel.

KAW’s maintainers demonstrated the ability to safely handle and load the rockets onto the Mi-17s with engines running. As KAW’s aviators skills and professionalism increase, they will 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.

“Overall, this increases the KAW’s ability to provide for their own security for Mi-17s’ 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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