Afghan Air Force conducts first emergency combat airdrop
By 1st Lt Erin Recanzone
/ Published June 05, 2018
KABUL AIR WING, Afghanistan (AFNS) -- Afghan Air Force C-208 aircrew members conducted their first emergency combat airdrop mission bringing ammunition to Afghan National Police and citizens fighting the Taliban in Badakshan province, June 1, 2018.
The success of this emergency combat airdrop proves the Afghan Air Force’s ability to respond quickly to emergent requests and deliver necessary supplies to support the Afghan National Army, police, and citizens as they combat the Taliban.
Aircrew members conducted mission planning, prepared nearly 1,000 pounds of ammunition for delivery, and successfully dropped the supplies all within six hours of being notified of the need for support.
"In the past we didn’t have anything to support the soldiers,” said 1st Lt. Froton, Afghan Air Force loadmaster. "Now when our soldiers are faced with any kind of problem, especially lack of ammunition, we are ready to support them, and it’s really bad news for the Taliban.”
All ammo was received by friendly forces, which allowed the Afghan National Police and local citizens defending their home town to continue fighting.
With guidance from Train, Advise and Assist Command-Air advisors, the Afghan Air Force began training on airdrop capabilities in October 2016, and conducted their first mission airdrops in July 2017.
Since that time, airdrops have primarily been conducted in support of ground forces as a means of resupplying ammo, food and water. Many of the compounds and checkpoints the Afghan National Army, Afghan Border Patrol and Afghan National Police operate out of are in austere locations and airdrops are the only means of effective and timely resupply.
"It has been remarkable to see the progress of the C-208 and C-130 Afghan aircrew members,” said Lt. Col. Erik Johnson, 538th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron commander. "This combat airdrop is a prime example of what these loadmasters are capable of. They proved that they can get supplies wherever it needs to go quickly and effectively without coalition assistance.”
The Afghan loadmasters who prepared the ammunition for this mission are considered experts in mission planning, bundle fundamentals, parachute rigging and airdrop mission instruction, and they feel prepared to support similar airdrops in the future.
"We are really proud because we are going to help our soldiers,” Froton said. "It’s part of our mission. When our soldiers are faced with lack of supplies, we are ready to support from the air.”
Established in 2015, Resolute Support is a NATO-led, non-combat mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, who assumed nationwide responsibility for Afghanistan’s security following the conclusion of the previous NATO-led International Security Assistance Force mission. Its purpose is to help the Afghan security forces and institutions develop the capacity to defend Afghanistan and protect its citizens in a sustainable manner.