Afghan Mi-17 Helicopters To Be Replaced With 159 US-Refurbished Black Hawks

  • Our Bureau. Edited by M.Ahmed
  • 04:46 PM, May 19, 2017
  • 5136
Afghan Mi-17 Helicopters To Be Replaced With 159 US-Refurbished Black Hawks
UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter

The US will supply Afghanistan with up to 159 refurbished UH-60A Black Hawks to replace its aging fleet of Russian Mi-17 transport helicopters.

The country is assisting Afghanistan in its four-year road map to double its 17,000-strong special forces unit and bolster the Afghan Air Force.

The addition of Black Hawks to the Afghan fleet is vital for giving the security forces leverage needed to end the stalemate, Ahmad Shah Katawazai, defense liaison and security expert at the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington, D.C., was quoted as saying by Military Times Wednesday.

“We are in the midst of an insurgency where the enemy is getting tacit support from neighboring countries.” The security expert added.

“Our security forces are under immense pressure as they are fighting each day, on several fronts, with more than 20 terrorist organizations.” Katawazai said  

The move follows Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee in February, saying more U.S. troops were needed to help break the "stalemate" against terrorists groups fighting there.

There is $814 million designated this year to bolster Afghanistan’s air force, including enough funding for 53 of the 159 Black Hawks, a defense official said. Each year, the Defense Department will have to request additional funding for the remainder.

Officials expect to deliver 30 a year. The first delivery is expected in about 21 months.   

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