Progress update on Afghan helicopter training project
Watch the Novosibirsk Aircraft Repair Plant's video detailing the NATO-Russia Council training they have already provided for 30 Afghan helicopter maintenance technicians.
Representatives from Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSVTS) and Oboronprom and participated in the NRC Helicopter Maintenance Trust Fund Executive Steering Committee’s meeting on 16 July. The meeting provided an opportunity for NATO-Russia Council participants to be updated on the progress of the project, and discuss the details of implementation as it moves into its second phase, delivering more training and helicopter spare parts to the Afghan Air Force.
NATO Supply Agency (NSPA), the project’s executing agent, gave their assessment on the success of the training courses held for the Afghan helicopter technicians at the Novosibirsk Aircraft Repair Plant. Representatives from the Russian helicopter manufacturers presented the committee with a short video they had prepared about the project and training courses which are designed for the requirements of the Afghan technicians.
During Phase 1 of the project 30 Afghan Air Force helicopter technicians were trained and certified on Mi-17 helicopter maintenance. Three students will be selected for a further “train the trainers” course. This will provide the Afghan Air Force with the potential to provide its own training capabilities. The training for helicopter technicians will also continue under Phase 2. Another 30 technicians are set to be trained on Mi-17 helicopters, and a further 15 technicians will be trained on Mi-35 helicopters.
Afghan helicopter technicians receiving practical training provided by the NATO-Russia Council in Novosibirsk, Russia.
Supporting the Afghan Air Force's MedEvac
The Committee discussed the details of a Medical Evacuation conversion kit that the NATO-Russia Council Trust Fund will be providing to the Afghan Air Force. This will allow a Mi-17 helicopter to be converted into a fully equipped “flying ambulance”. In particular post 2014, the ability of the Afghan Air Force to conduct Helicopter MedEvac will be vital for the Afghan National Security Forces’ work towards security in Afghanistan. By enabling the evacuation of casualties in an environment where it is often only possible by air, the NATO-Russia Council is making another key contribution towards Afghanistan’s more secure future. The committee also discussed possible areas of development for the Trust Fund, focussing on how the NATO-Russia Council could further develop Afghan Air Force capabilities after Phase 2 is complete.