There are a lot of days when I’ve got time on my hands. And once you’ve sorted your socks and alphabetized your kitchen utensils, you start to think that maybe you need a hobby. Something to take your mind off a world gone orange. Like the Afghan Air Force (AAF).
I know, I know: it’s a crowded market full of observers watching Brazilian planes being built by an American manufacturer and given to the Afghans. Because what an air force needs that’s just struggling to stay in the air thanks to a shortage of parts and trained pilots needs?
Is a new airframe.
Enter the A-29 Super Tucano. I’d link to all the stuff I’ve done on the AAF to date, but with the reboot, I’ve got all the old posts pending review. That way you don’t end up chasing dead links.
So like the US in Afghanistan, I’m starting all over again.
But according to Resolute Support, the NATO mission trying to make the Afghan intervention look like a rolling dumpster fire, there’s some pretty amazing progress for the AAF. Which is adapting nicely to the new aircraft, which if nothing else is making them even better at killing civilians.
I’ll cite sources later.
This last month marked a pretty big milestone for the AAF, though.
“This was the first time that [Afghan] pilots employed guided live bombs utilizing the on-board Forward Looking Infrared system,” Maj. Nicholas Plante, a spokesman for Train, Advise and Assist Command-Air, said in a statement to Military Times.
And because under the Toddler-in-Chief, tweets or it didn’t happen:
Advisors with TAAC-Air conducted training with their Afghan Air Force counterparts to increase accuracy and offensive capability.
AAF weapons teams, crew chiefs and A-29 pilots completed their first live training with new GBU-58s munitions, hitting all targets. #AFGStrong pic.twitter.com/29x26gl3OR
— Resolute Support (@ResoluteSupport) January 4, 2018
Pretty freakin’ great, right? Afghan pilots flew the planes, lased the targets, dropped the bombs, and hit all their targets.
“The exercise included two Afghan Air Force A-29s with an Afghan pilot in the rear seat of each aircraft responsible for operating the Forward Looking Infrared system and the laser designator,” Plante said.
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Although a coalition adviser was piloting each aircraft during this training flight, the planes will have all-Afghan crews when combat missions occur in the future, Plante said.
Yeah, see, that’s not flying a plane that’s dropping explosives on people.
That’s sitting in the back seat, lighting up a target, so your buddy in the next plane, also in the back seat, can send a bomb toward said target.
And all those targets? Pre-planned.
It’s important to note, however, that the targets for this exercise were pre-planned, and “accurate coordinates were known before takeoff,” he added.
So much for Afghans taking the lead. Or any kind of initiative.
Your Uber driver makes more decisions on his way to pick you up from tuba lessons, or whatever it is that people do that use the Uber.
The AAF’s about as ready to drop bombs as this little girl is to drive this car.