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Laser Guided Bombs enhance Afghan Air Force Strike Capability

An Afghan Air Force A-29 Super Tucano taxis to a parking spot March 6, 2018, Kabul Air Wing, Afghanistan. The aircraft is highly maneuverable, and capable of operating in austere environments and rugged terrain. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jared J. Duhon)

KABUL AIR WING, Afghanistan -- Since March 22, 2018, the Afghan Air Force has both introduced and increased the use of precision guided munitions in southern Afghanistan.

“The recent addition of laser-guided bomb strike capability is huge for the Afghan Air Force,” said Lt. Col. Justin Williams, 438th Air Expeditionary Advisor Squadron commander. “Afghanistan did not have it last fighting season, and we are already seeing the crippling psychological effect it is having on the enemies of Afghanistan this season.”

Since the implementation of Laser Guided Bombs, nearly 96 percent of strikes have been successful and have led to a 30 percent increase in ground force commander desired effects on the battlefield and a greater overall mission success.

The capability, which consists of conventional bombs enabled with laser guidance kits, is almost entirely Afghan.

“The bombs are built by Afghan ammunitions specialists and loaded onto Afghan planes by Afghan maintainers,” Williams said. “This is one example of how the Afghan Air Force is assuming ownership across the board.”

As of May 11, 2018, A-29 Super Tucano pilots have supported approximately 30 Afghan ground missions with this technology, successfully dropping over 50 laser guided bombs on enemy targets.

“The Taliban like to hide in towns and places where civilians are,” said an Afghan Air Force A-29 pilot. “The Laser Guided Bomb lets me strike those places without hurting the local people.”

Williams echoed the Afghan pilot’s comments.

“Using laser-guided technology, the Afghan Air Force pilots are able to strike with extreme precision, limiting civilian casualties while still having a greater, more profound effect on the battlefield,” Williamss aid.

Afghan Air Force members are constantly working with their train, advise and assist coalition partners to develop new capabilities that create a more professional, capable and sustainable Afghan Air Force.

The implementation of laser-guided bombs comes just two years after the Afghan Air Force gained air strike capabilities in the A-29 and is part of an overall effort to modernize the Afghan Air Force and give it a lethal advantage over the enemy.