Afghan Air Force Helicopter Fleet Grows To 31

October 5, 2010

By Petty Officer 1st Class Elizabeth Burke
NATO Air Training Command-Afghanistan

The Afghan Air Force received four new Mi-17 V5 helicopters, bringing the current fleet to 31, six of which are the latest V5 variant. The delivery on Oct. 4, 2010 is part of 10 helicopters, which are scheduled to arrive by year's end.

In a yet-to-be-determined procurement, the Afghan Ministry of Defense plans to take delivery of another 21 by 2013, bringing the total MoD Mi-17 fleet to 56. The Mi-17 is the AAF’s mainstay for airfield mobility, and will be distributed to air units throughout Afghanistan.

These Russian-built aircraft are modified in Dubai to comply with AAF configuration requirements. The Afghan Air Force standards include a new cockpit, gun mounts and a tricolor paint scheme.

The Mi-17 has a service life of 25 years with overhauls every 2,000 flying hours. With normal projected attrition, the legacy aircraft will require recapitalization starting in 2014. This represents the point at which the AAF will transition to a more western-based platform. Between fiscal years 2014 and 2016 there is a $1 billion budget request to initiate this modernization.

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