VALDOSTA – The 81st Fighter Squadron will host the first graduation for nine Afghan Air Force pilots at Moody Air Force Base on December 18.
Moody was selected as the stateside training location for the Afghan A-29 in August 2014. The training unit will support 20 A-29 aircraft and train 30 Afghan pilots over the course of the next four years.
The A-29 is a multi-role, fixed wing aircraft that will provide the Afghan Air Force with an indigenous air-to-ground capability and aerial reconnaissance capabilities to support the country’s counterinsurgency operations. The Department of Defense has determined that a stateside training option is the most feasible option to deliver the capability to the Afghan Air Force.
The A-29 is a small, light aircraft designed to operate in high temperature conditions and extremely rugged terrain, providing an ideal capability for the Afghan Air Force. It has retractable landing gear, a pressurized cockpit with ejection seats and is capable of operating from semi-prepared airfields.
The Air Force is purchasing these aircraft for the Afghan Air Force on behalf of Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan using DoD’s Afghanistan Security Forces Fund appropriation. The Afghan air force needs the A-29 aircraft because the current Afghan air force air-to-ground aircraft, the Mi-35 attack helicopter, reaches its end of service life in January 2016.
US Air Force Release