Afghan pilots training to fly A-29B Super Tucanos recently spent several weeks at Peterson AFB, Colo., for high-altitude training, according to the 21st Space Wing. The Afghan pilots, who are preparing to stand up a squadron in their home country, arrived at Moody AFB, Ga., the beginning of 2015 and will return home after a year of training, accompanied by USAF pilots and maintainers from the 81st Fighter Squadron for support, according to a release. The squadron will have a constant rotational presence in Afghanistan for the mentoring role, said Lt. Col. Jeff Hogan, the squadron commander. The aircraft the Afghan pilots are training on now also will go with them to Afghanistan when they finish their training, according to the Air Force. Defense Department spokesman Army Maj. Roger Cabiness told Air Force Magazine DOD “is on schedule to deliver the first four A-29 aircraft to Afghanistan in January 2016.” The Super Tucano is slated to replace the Mi-35 attack helicopter, which will reach the end of its service life in January, the Air Force has said.
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.