May 9, 2018
Afghanistan begins Black Hawk operations
The Afghan Air Force (AAF) flew its first operational mission with its recently acquired Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters on 7 May.
The mission, which was disclosed by the 438th Air Expeditionary Wing, saw at least three helicopters fly in support of Afghan provincial elections.
The AAF is set to receive 159 Black Hawks by 2020 as the United States transitions the country’s armed forces over from its approximately 80 Russian-built Mil Mi-17 ‘Hip’ helicopters that are nearing the end of their service lives. To date, eight have been received over two batches in September 2017 and January 2018, with the first six pilots having graduated from training in November 2017.
Before entering into Afghan service, these former US Army aircraft first undergo a major refurbishment and upgrade.