The US Air Force (USAF) has deployed four A-29 Super Tucano light-attack aircraft to Kabul, in support of the Afghan Air Force.
The Afghan Air Force will use the aircraft for a variety of missions such as close-air attack, air interdiction, escort and armed reconnaissance.
An Afghan Air Force A-29 pilot said: “The four additional aircraft will allow us to increase the number of missions we are able to support nationwide.
“More targets can be attacked, more ground troops can be supported.”
The aircraft from Moody Air Force Base in Georgia have increased the number of A-29s in the Afghan Air Force inventory from eight to 12 aircraft.
438th Air Expeditionary Wing commander Brigadier General David Hicks said that the A-29s were a 'game changer in the 2016 fighting season, and he has high expectations for the aircraft and crews in 2017.'
Hicks said: “The Afghan Air Force pilots are continually gaining proficiency in the A-29.
“They are capable of providing air attack anywhere in the country.
"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 new A-29s will be ready for combat operations in the 2017 fighting season, after undergoing a brief reconfiguration.
Built by Embraer, the Super Tucano light-attack aircraft is equipped with mission and display processors that receive and process data from sensors, navigation and attack variables and manage a multitude of other tasks such as hands-on throttle and stick (HOTAS) operations, in addition to symbology generation and presentation for HUD and CMFDs.
Image: Pilots and the A-29. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo / Tech. Sgt. Veronica Pierce.