U.S. Plans Creation of Afghan CH-47 Fleet

Boeing CH-47F Chinook. Image

The U.S. will transfer CH-47 Chinook helicopters to Afghanistan as part of an effort to modernize the Afghan military.

A recent report from the U.S. Department of Defense to the U.S. Congress revealed the proposed helicopter transfer. The report, entitled “Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan,” said that the “DoD continued to provide additional combat aircraft to the Afghan Air Force and plans to provide CH-47 Chinook helicopters to the Special Mission Wing to support its counterterrorism operations and replace its Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters.”

These helicopters should fully replace the Mi-17 fleet by the end of 2023. The Department of Defense did not disclose how many CH-47s would be delivered under the program.

Washington has provided the Afghan forces with “the necessary equipment and training to improve their capacity during this reporting period and focused advisory efforts at the ‘point of need’ with reliable security partners to increase their effectiveness,” the report states.

In recent years, the U.S. has made an effort to significantly overhaul the Afghan military’s aerial capabilities in order to boost the Armed Forces’ ability to wage counterinsurgency operations. Under this support program, the Afghan Air Force and Army have received new Black Hawk helicopters, MD 530Fs, A-29 Super Tucanos, and AC-208s.

The Afghan military remains embroiled in a counterinsurgency campaign against the Taliban, which controls or influences many provinces in Afghanistan. Over the weekend, an Mi-17 owned by Moldovan Airlines made a hard landing after apparently coming under attack by insurgent forces.

On Monday, a U.S. military aircraft crashed in Ghazni province. The Taliban claimed it shot the jet down.

About Derek Bisaccio

Military markets analyst, covering Eurasia, Middle East, and Africa.

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