A new MC-12 Liberty aircraft squadron has been activated by the US Air Force at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan.

The 80-member MC-12 unit will be operated by the 361st Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron (ERS).

The new MC-12 unit will enable the USAF to improve joint and combined counterinsurgency capabilities of the air force and assist Afghanistan in defeating the insurgency.

The MC-12, a manned, special-mission turboprop aircraft, has been designed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

The 451st Expeditionary Operations Group commander Col. John A. Cherrey said the 361st ERS has been reactivated many times in the squadron’s history.

The squadron first started operations in 1943 during World War II when it flew B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators, and later used EC-47s in Vietnam.