Instructors from the 81st Fighter Squadron at Moody AFB, Ga., and their Afghan pilots in training traveled to Peterson AFB, Colo., where the mountainous environment more closely resembles that in Afghanistan, according to a release. It is the third time the 81st FS used the base since the Afghan training program began in 2015—Both Colorado and Afghanistan have a mean elevation above 6,000 feet. The 81st stood up in 2014 and began training Afghans to fly the A-29 Super Tucano last year. The goal is to train 30 Afghan pilots and 90 maintainers by 2018. “The half dozen Afghanistan Air Force pilots currently in training represent roughly the halfway point in the program,” states the release. (See also Super Tucanos Land in Afghanistan and Afghan Pilots Train in Colorado.)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.