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25 octobre 2011 2 25 /10 /octobre /2011 07:40

http://www.isaf.nato.int/images/stories/1024pilot.jpg

 

Shindand, October 22nd - Lieutenant Fazil Amery, of the Afghan Air Force, is one of the first students that will train on the new three Cessna 208B (C-208B). Along with the three more that will arrive in the next weeks, these aircraft will be used in the advanced follow on fixed wing Afghan Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training. The training is provided by a cadre of United States, Italian, Hungarian and Afghan Air Force instructors, which form the 444th Air Expeditionary Advisor Squadron. (Photo: Sargento OR-6 Juan Ardura Santa Engracia, Spanish Army, Regional Command West PIO NCO)

 

Oct. 22, 2011 ISAF Regional Command West - Afghanistan

 

HERAT, Afghanistan  – After receiving the initial training aircraft for the Afghan Air Force (AAF) Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) last month,  the first three of six new Cessna C-208B advanced trainers have arrived at Shindand Air Base. Capable of carrying a combination of ten passengers and up to 3,000 lbs. of cargo, they can serve in a light transport aircraft role, and as such, twenty more will be acquired by the AAF to be stationed across Afghanistan.

 

With the delivery of the remainder of the aircraft in the next weeks, these aircraft will be used in the advanced fixed-wing pilot training. In addition to the fixed-wing program, there will be six MD-530 light helicopters delivered later this year, and six Mi-17 helicopters already in place, devoted to the rotary wing portion of the UPT. The training is provided by a cadre of United States, Italian, Hungarian and Afghan Air Force instructors, which form the 444th Air Expeditionary Advisor Squadron.

 

In 2009, the Afghanistan Ministry of Defence selected its first group of pilot candidates on which to build its future Air Force. Absent any indigenous training resources or facilities, these future pilots were sent to the U.S. where they were enrolled in language immersion training, followed by USAF undergraduate pilot training. Now, Shindand Air Base already provides basic facilities for the training of pilots and crews, and construction on the new facilities is ongoing, due to be completed between February and April next year. Shindand Air Base will not only be the center for pilot training, but will eventually serve as the training center for much of the AAF. This will include maintenance, language and professional military education, and training in the myriad support functions and skills necessary for the nearly 1,400 Shindand Air Wing Airmen to sustain the base and flight school operations.

 

“Many of the students we have already received training years ago before the Taliban took over the country. The challenge is to bring them to current standards, along with training new pilots and crews“, declared USAF Colonel John J. Hokaj, Commander of the 838th Air Expeditionary Advisor Group. “The final goal is that, in three years, the students we train now will be able to train new pilots and crews themselves, and be truly self-sufficient” Hokaj added.

 

The first class of AAF pilots will start classes later this year, marking the first time in decades that new fixed wing pilots have been trained in Afghanistan. These students, along with their Afghan counterparts currently undergoing flight training in the United States, will graduate as fully rated instrument pilots and serve as the backbone of the AAF. They will fill a critical role in the transition to a fully capable and self-sufficient AAF.

 

Lieutenant Fazil Amery (AAF) is one of the newly designated students; he has already received initial pilot training in India, and is eager to begin advanced training: “It is a privilege to be able to study in my country”. Lieutenant Colonel Abdul Hashim (AAF) said: “In the near future, to have our own training facilities will create a truly Afghan Air Force”.

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