Afghanistan Facing Shortage Of Trained Pilots To Operate Black Hawks – SIGAR Report

The report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) raised questions on the ability of Afghanistan’s pilot operating the Black Hawks. The report indicated the severe shortage of trained Afghan pilots who can operate Black Hawks helicopters.

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Apart from the Afghan Air Force, a few helicopters will be sent for the high-level Special Mission Wing established in 2005. There are approximately 800 men in SWG which were designed to help in Afghanistan’s counternarcotics operations. The Taliban insurgency activities have led to the expansion of the SMW forces through the inclusion of counter-terrorism operations.

Till now, sixteen Black Hawks have arrived and the rest are scheduled in batches with the expectation of reaching by 2023 in Afghanistan.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction report emphasised saying,
“Given concerns that the Afghan Air Force and Special Mission Wing may not be able to fully use all 159 aircraft when delivered”.

The project for training group of Afghan pilots started in 2017 and till May 2018, fifteen trained Afghan pilots were regarded as fit for flying the UH-60 in combat operations. In May 2018, the Afghan Air Force did its first UH-60 operation.

As per reports published by the SIGAR, the main issue with the implementation of the project was that the selected Afghan pilots and engineers were facing trouble in learning the technical language used for managing the difficult airframes.

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