The US Army has delivered the first batch of UH-60A Black Hawk helicopters to the Afghan Air Force (AAF).

The first two UH-60A Black Hawks were transported to Kandahar Airfield on a C-17 Globemaster III, under the Black Hawk Exchange and Sale Transaction (BEST) divestiture programme.

Afghanistan will receive more than 150 Black Hawks over the next five years, as part of the US Army’s efforts to modernise the AAF.

US Army Aviation programme executive officer brigadier general Thomas Todd said: “The high utilisation and accelerated attrition rate of the Mi-17 fleet has made the transition to Black Hawks essential to the Afghan forces’ ability to maintain a high operations tempo as they battle against insurgent forces.

“What’s happening this evening is the direct result of the dedicated efforts of PEO Aviation, USASAC, AMCOM, and other organisations that have worked tirelessly to execute the delivery of an incredible capability and combat multiplier to the Afghan Air Force.

“This transfer of UH-60s, along with the training of Afghan pilots, is vital to developing their ability to meet their growing demand for air support.”

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Congress has funded the delivery of more than 50 Black Hawks this year and the delivery of the remaining helicopters will rely on funds approval every year to keep the programme on track.

The AAF UH-60 training is currently underway at Fort Rucker, Alabama, US, and a class at Kandahar airfield will kick off in October.

Image: Personnel load the first of two UH-60A utility helicopters onto a C17 at an airfield in Huntsville, Alabama, US. Photo: courtesy of Ms Adriane Elliot via