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Mi-17s ready for action

An Afghan Air Force maintenance professional tie down the propellers of an Mi-17 at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, May 7, 2018. This was one of six Mi-17s that received damage from aggressors so far this year, but after extensive sheet metal repairs, the aircraft are all continuing operational missions. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Erin Recanzone)

An Afghan Air Force maintenance professional tie down the propellers of an Mi-17 at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, May 7, 2018. This was one of six Mi-17s that received damage from aggressors so far this year, but after extensive sheet metal repairs, the aircraft are all continuing operational missions. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Erin Recanzone)

The Afghan Air Force sheet metal repairs commander explains what repairs were required to ensure that the Mi-17 behind him could return to an operational status at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, May 7, 2018. The aircraft was one of six Mi-17s to have been damaged by enemy attacks, but after extensive sheet metal repairs, the aircraft are all continuing operational missions. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Erin Recanzone)

Afghan maintenance professionals and their coalition counterparts stand in front of an Mi-17 that had just been returned to operational status at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, May 7, 2018. The aircraft was one of six Mi-17s to have been damaged by enemy attacks, but after extensive sheet metal repairs, the aircraft are all continuing operational missions. (U.S. Air Force photo/1st Lt. Erin Recanzone)

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afganistan --

Two Afghan Air Force Mi-17s that received significant mortar damage in January, have been returned to a fully operational status at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan as of May 8.

 

So far this year, six Mi-17s have received damages from enemy aggressors, but Afghan maintainers, with guidance from their Train, Advise and Assist counterparts, have been able to repair all of them.  

 

"We worked with the Afghans to do the full assessment and to prioritize how we would go about doing the repairs,” said Tech. Sgt. Mitchell Braswell, Aircraft Structural Maintenance advisor. "The Afghans led the repairs, we just guided them on which direction to go as far as priorities."

 

The Afghan Air Force has 22 Mi-17s that are maintained and operated entirely by Afghans with little to no coalition assistance.

 

While the newly arrived UH-60 Blackhawk will eventually replace the capabilities currently provided by the Mi-17, the AAF currently relies on these aircraft for cargo transport, casualty evacuation and human remains transfer.

 

UH-60 Blackhawk Afghan air crews began conducting operational missions May 8, but it will be approximately two years before this more modern and sustainable aircraft will fully replace the Mi-17. Until then, Mi-17 AAF maintenance crews will continue to keep their aircraft operational and send a strong message to any adversaries.

 

“The Enemy will know we’re capable of doing any kind of work,” said AAF Capt. Faiz Mohammad, Sheet Metal Repairs commander. "We are stronger than the enemy and they will not win."

 

For more information, email TAAC-Air Public Affairs at erin.n.recanzone.mil@mail.mil, or via telephone at +93 (0)70-281-1986.

 

Additional photos are available on the Resolute Support Headquarters DVIDS page, which is at: https://www.dvidshub.net/unit/RS-HQ