Afghan Mi-35 Unit Reaches Operational Milestone

The Afghan Air Force’s Kabul Air Wing can now support a steady state of operations with its Mi-35 attack helicopters, announced NATO Air Training Command-Afghanistan officials. Earlier this month, the final two Mi-35 copilots with the wing’s 377th Rotary Wing Squadron completed training, meaning the squadron now has six combat-ready crews, states the NATC-A’s Nov. 6 release. “Six crews allow for a steady ‘alert’ crew and also take into account necessary maintenance and crew rest, while still allowing for constant use of the Mi-35 helicopters,” said Capt. Martin Douda, a NATO instructor pilot from the Czech Republic. Each Mi-35 crew comprises an aircraft commander and copilot. The AAF currently has 19 Mi-35 pilots, 12 of whom are already combat-ready, states the release. The NATO instructors intend to bring the remaining seven to that level as well. The AAF uses its Mi-35s for close air support and aerial escort. (Kabul report by Capt. Anastasia Wasem)