The Australian Government is set to assist the Afghan National Air Force to develop its UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter capability.

As part of the project, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) will deploy nearly 20 personnel, including aviation advisers and force protection to help the Afghan Air Force support its Blackhawk capability.

The project will be managed by approximately 300 ADF personnel.

Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne said: “Australia is one of only a few nations in the international coalition currently flying Blackhawks and we will be able to provide qualified personnel to support the introduction of this important platform.”

“Australia will continue to provide funding to the Afghan National Air Force for the sustainment of the service’s Mi-17 helicopter fleet, which will be replaced with the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter.”

“The Blackhawks are a critical battlefield enabler that will provide the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces with increased air mobility and response capabilities for ground forces.”

Payne said that Australia will continue to provide funding to the Afghan National Air Force for the sustainment of the service’s Mi-17 helicopter fleet, which will be replaced with the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter through the Afghan National Army Trust Fund.

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By GlobalData

Since 2010, Australia has provided $520m for the Afghan National Army Trust Fund, making it the second largest contributor to the fund.

Payne added: “Since 2001, Australia has remained steadfast in its support to Afghanistan. Our additional contribution reflects the importance we place on supporting the Afghanistan government and its efforts to further peace and reconciliation.

“Australia remains committed to working with Nato and its partners to support the Government of Afghanistan to provide security and stability for its people and to prevent the spread of terrorism.”