The Afghan Air Force received four more A-29 Super Tucanos at Kabul Air Wing on Monday. With the new delivery, AAF raised their in-country inventory of the light attack aircraft to 12. Leaders of the US train, advise, and assist mission have said the close air support provided by A-29s has provided a significant impact in the past year as Afghan forces work to regain territory from the Taliban with lower levels of coalition support. Brig. Gen. David Hicks, commander of the 438th Air Expeditionary Wing, called the A-29s a “game changer.” The AAF also has seven A-29s at Moody AFB, Ga., where Afghan pilots train with US partners. Once they have completed their training, the Afghan pilots “are capable of providing air attack anywhere in the country,” said Hicks, according to a press release. “In the past, the Afghan National Army relied on the coalition for air support. Now, it’s their own countrymen overhead flying the missions.”
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.