Building an Air Force

The Afghan National Army Air Force added a sixth C-27A transport to its inventory on Wednesday, said Brig. Gen Michael Boera, commanding general of the Combined Air Power Transition Force. The Afghans now have 49 airframes, up from 42 when the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan stood up last November, he told reporters during a media teleconference. In addition to the C-27s, the Afghans operate Mi-17 and Mi-35 helicopters and AN-26 and AN-32 transports. The goal is to procure 20 C-27s to replace the Antonov airframes, which will begin phasing out in 2012, he said. The ANAAF plans to field 56 Mi-17s. CAPTF is still looking to add fixed- and rotary-wing platforms to meet the Afghans’ training needs, along with a fixed-wing close air support aircraft to eventually replace the Mi-35s, he said. One of these fixed-wing airplanes will evolve into a multi-purpose intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance airplane.