Afghanis soon to fly missions with Black Hawks from US

KANADAHAR, Afghanistan

KANADAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) — The U.S. military has been flying UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter missions in Afghanistan for years, but the storied aircraft will soon take to the country’s battlefields manned by pilots and crews from the Afghan military.

The first group of Afghan trainees is in the final phase of instruction by U.S. advisers at an air base in southern Kandahar province, as part of transitioning Afghanistan’s military from Soviet-era Mi-17 helicopters to the U.S.-made Black Hawks.

They are scheduled to begin flying missions in May.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Ted Rogers, director of operations for the 441st Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron, called the transition “hugely important.”

It’s part of broader plans for the expansion of the Afghan Air Force. The U.S. is spending $814 million on the seven-year effort.

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