02/05/2017: An A-29 Super Tucano arrives on the flightline Sept. 26, 2014, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga.
The A-29 is a multi-role, fixed wing aircraft that will provide the Afghan Air Force air-to-ground capability and aerial reconnaissance capabilities to support its counterinsurgency operations.
Afghan pilots and maintainers begin training on the aircraft at Moody in February 2015.
(U.S. Air Force video by Andrew Arthur Breese)
It provides a low cost low cost fighter capability right now and built in America.
We wrote earlier last year, that with the arrival of the Super Tucano’s in Afghanistan, the challenge remained of having a strategy that actually leveraged them. With President Trump looking to establish a new approach, the ST’s fit right in to a more rapid insertion force effort.
It took awhile but finally these planes are showing up.
If the Afghans as a nation are going to work together to shape a counter-insurgency and defense strategy, air power is a crucial lynchpin.
This is true for multiple reasons.
First, the geography of Afghanistan makes this an air-connected territory, not a road connected one.
Second, the conditions of operation are challenging and require robust and maintainable air systems to support Afghan forces.
Third, the US and NATO have demonstrated without a shadow of a doubt that airpower is a fundamental element of security and defense “ground” operations.
The demonstration effect is palpable in Afghanistan.
Leaving the Afghans with little or no operational air capability would be a statement of neglect by the exiting NATO forces.
Finally, the new aircraft are coming to Afghanistan.
Amazingly, the heated A-10 debate in the United States completely missed the coming of the Super Tucano and the perfect fit for the US and partners in shaping capabilities for the long war.
Rather than planning to show up with slow counter insurgency airplanes, which require a significant infrastructure to protect them, partnering with countries fighting the long war and helping them acquire the Super Tucano would make a great deal of sense and then to partner that capability with core US ISR, C2 and other power projection capabilities,