Afghan Air Force Maintenance Training


Credit video : American Forces Network Afghanistan, December 2nd, 2010

01/29/2011 – « Building a skilled Air Force is challenging. U.S. advisers are helping strengthen the Afghan Air Force maintenance crew by focusing on preventative maintenance. Literate recruits are hard to find, rickety Soviet-era choppers make up the fleet and aircraft instruction manuals are either missing or in Russian. Once a sizeable air force essential for moving across the country’s rugged terrain of craggy mountains and deserts, the Afghan National Army Air Corps is slowly picking up the pieces after falling into disuse during years of war and Taliban rule. Hoping to eventually support the Afghan army without help from foreign troops, the air force is ambitiously expanding — with plans to triple the size of its fleet to 150 aircraft and boost personnel to 8,000 by 2016 from about 3,000 now.
In Kandahar alone, about $100 million is being spent on building barracks, ramps and facilities as the 250-strong wing trained by Mater’s men seeks to expand to as many as 1,200 people — from pilots to maintenance crew — next year. (…)

And then there are the aircraft themselves. In Kandahar, four large helicopters sit outside with their Soviet heritage on full display: Russian words are painted inside and Cyrillic lettering is printed above the controls. Sturdy, rudimentary and built without sophisticated electronics, the tan and green helicopters feature frayed seats and paint peeling off inside, but are reliable carriers of troops. With a good safety record, they have even been used for medical evacuations. (…)

The biggest challenge is finding qualified candidates for the growing air force, given low literacy levels and an entire generation that had no experience flying planes or learning to do so under Taliban rule. » [1]



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