Lithuanian Air Force training Afghan helicopter pilots

Lithuanian Air Force training Afghan helicopter pilots

9-Feb-2011 Source: Lithuanian Air Force

February 8, deployment ceremony will be held for the first rotation of the multinational Lithuanian-led Air Mentor Team (AMT) at Šiauliai Air Base of the Lithuanian Air Force, in the international mission in Afghanistan the unit will render assistance in training troops of the Air Unit of Air Corps of the Afghan National Army. AMT includes 10 members – eight troops of the Lithuanian Air Force and two Latvian military. In Afghanistan Lithuanian and Latvian instructors will be joined by Belgian and Ukrainian representatives.

Air Mentor Team (AMT) will be deployed at Kandahar International Airport where it will train Afghan helicopter pilots and maintenance specialists in cooperation with a US-led AMT. The unit will provide mentoring in air operations planning, arrangement of technical maintenance and repair of helicopters. AMT will also help Afghan helicopter crews improve their aircraft operation skills.

Both specialists and instructors from Lithuania, and representatives of other partners will only conduct training of helicopter crews and maintenance personnel, and will not engage in combat operations.

AMT began training for the mission in May 2010. A multi-phased training began in Ukraine. Later AMT personnel underwent a survival course at the Reconnaissance School of the Lithuanian Armed Forces and individual skills course at Divisional Gen Stasys Raštikis NCO School (Kaunas). In Germany AMT personnel underwent a course on training flights together with US troops. Major attention in the AMT training was paid to preparation of Lithuanian pilots for flying in unaccustomed conditions – over mountainous terrains and in dustiness; troops of the Lithuanian Air Force conducted such drills in Croatia. Members of AMT also underwent bombardier courses and basic flight hours of pre-mission training in Lithuania.

By committing an AMT Lithuania contributes to the training of Afghan National Security Forces. Lithuania has been maintaining in Ghor province of Afghanistan a Lithuanian-led Police Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (POMLT) to provide training for local policemen since November 2010. Members of the Lithuanian Special Operations Squadron deployed in southern Afghanistan are also training Afghan Police Combat Company and jointly conduct tasks.

AMT deployment ceremony is expected to be attended by the Chief of Defence of Lithuania Maj Gen Arvydas Pocius, representatives of the United States, Ukraine, Embassy of Belgium, acting Commander of the Lithuanian Air Force Col Antanas Jucius, Commander of LAF Air Base Lt Col Virginijus Steponavičius, commander of LAF subdivisions and relatives of AMT members.

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