We’ve Got You Covered

The Afghan National Army Air Corps intends to outfit a portion of its Mi-17s helicopters to serve in an “armed escort role,” says Brig. Gen. Jay Lindell, commander of the Combined Air Power Transition Force in Kabul. These escorts will be equipped with forward-firing rocket pods and door guns but will serve only in the escort role and will not be used for close air support, he said on Jan. 24 (see above). The ANAAC is interested in a follow-on rotary-wing aircraft in the out years that is similar to the Mi-17, but features upgraded engines, he said. The fledgling Air Corps faces a challenge today in sustaining its helicopters—as well as its Antonov transport aircraft—due to a lack of tooling and the absence of a logistics infrastructure, Lindell said. “We’re not in good shape and we do have parts problems,” he said. To alleviate the situation, the CAPTF contracted a $20 million deal in September 2007 for parts for legacy Antonovs and Mi-17s, he said. He added that work is ongoing to develop a logistics sustainment system that will help with tech orders, tooling, and training for maintenance personnel. The transition force currently has a 14-member team from the US surveying what the Afghans need to develop a sustainment capability, he said, noting that this process will take two to three years.