The US Air Force’s (USAF) 81st Fighter Squadron has received the A-29 Super Tucanos light-attack aircraft at the Moody Air Force Base in Georgia, US.
The A-29 jets will be deployed to assist the USAF squadron to continue its Afghan light air-support training mission. It will provide the Afghan pilots with the capabilities of locating, tracking and attacking targets either alone or in support of ground forces.
Train, Advise, Assist Command-Air (TAAC-Air) acting commanding general brigadier general Christopher Craige said: “The A-29 programme has been an integral part of the US Government’s overall ‘Building Partnership Capacity’ efforts around the world and immediately supports the development of an indigenous airforce in Afghanistan.
“This rapidly developed programme for Afghanistan is unique for the A-29 development because this is the first time USAF pilots and maintainers have been trained as instructors to conduct training for Afghan students in the US.”
The Super Tucano aircraft is a highly manoeuvrable fourth-generation weapons system that is capable of providing precision-guided munitions.
Designed to operate in high temperatures and extremely rugged terrain, the A-29 is currently being used by the Afghan Air Force (AFF) in order to conduct a close-air attack, air interdiction, escort and armed reconnaissance.
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81st Fighter Squadron commander lieutenant colonel Ryan Hill said that training Afghan pilots and maintainers to assist them in countering the terror threat in Afghanistan has significant strategic implications for the US.
Built by Embraer, the Super Tucano aircraft provides both training and operational effectiveness at low acquisition and operating costs.
The jet delivers modern solutions for basic to early advanced and weapons familiarisation training such as in-flight virtual training, in addition to providing operational characteristics required for successful internal security operation support and counter-insurgency (COIN) missions.