18-Jan-2011 Source: NTM-A
The Afghan air force transported a Mi-17 helicopter to Afghanistan Rotary Logistics at the Kabul International Airport, Jan. 16, as part of the implementation of the AAFâ€™s first local maintenance overhaul.
Due to an inability to extensively refurbish aircraft within the confines of Afghanistan, the AAF has until now been forced to ship aircraft to better equipped nations such as the Ukraine. But with the awarding of a local contract and the delivery of the first Mi-17, the AAF is beginning its transition to complete self-reliance in the care and upkeep of its aircraft.
â€œOur goal is to be able to complete overhauls on our own base; this is a step towards that ultimate goal,â€ said AAF Col. Mohammed Shafi, commander of the Kabul maintenance group.
Though the trip from the Afghan air force base in Kabul to the ARL hanger on the commercial side of Kabul International Airport was short–the distance of a single runway, the impact of the move is hardly as negligible.
â€œNotably, this adds to Afghanistanâ€™s ability to support its military,â€ said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Matthew Gamblin, a logistics and maintenance advisor with the 438th Air Expeditionary Wing.
â€œMore importantly, this helps build the industrial base of Afghanistan and keeps money in the country; thus helping to win the fight for the population and build this countryâ€™s security,â€ said Gamblin.
The delivery is the beginning of an overhaul partnership that can accommodate up to six Mi-17 helicopters a year.
This is an undeniable success, said Shafi.