Changing Antonovs for Alenias

Under the supervision of NATO advisors, the Afghan air force officially retired its fleet of legacy Antonov An-32 medium transport aircraft with a last photo call at AAF’s base in Kabul. “Thirty years of war since these aircraft have come to Afghanistan, so it’s all memories,” said Afghan flight engineer Capt. Halimkhan Rahimi at the June 17 ceremony. Last December, the AAF phased out its last An-26 transports. With US assistance, the Afghans have been replacing the Soviet-built airlifters with a more capable fleet of 20 refurbished C-27As. “The decision was made several years ago to move toward a more western style aircraft,” said Lt. Col. Douglas Magoffin, a NATO air training advisor. “We want to get [the AAF] to more of a world standard.” In February, the AAF hit the halfway point in that transition, when its 10th C-27 arrived. (Kabul report by Vladimir Potapenko)