While the Afghan National Army Air Corps currently is focused on improving mobility assets, it will have an operational capability in place for counterinsurgency operations by 2015, and a US-led attack squadron ready for use by 2013, says the Air Force general overseeing coalition efforts to assist in its reconstitution. The Air Corps’s COIN activities will be integrated with the Afghan Army’s operations, Brig. Gen. Jay Lindell, commander of the Combined Air Power Transition Force in Kabul, told reporters via teleconference on Jan. 24. The COIN aircraft will be a fixed-wing, single-engine turboprop platform that is capable of dropping precision ordnance, he said. This same type of aircraft likely also will serve in a training role. And, the COIN platform will possess the connectivity to pass information to other aircraft and operations centers while in flight and be equipped with a laser designator to guide precision weapons, he said. By 2015, the ANAAC should have 28 of these COIN aircraft in its fleet, according to Lindell.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.