The Air Force recently completed its environmental analysis and has selected Moody Air Force Base here as the stateside training location for Afghan A-29 pilots and maintainers.
The base was announced as the preferred alternative in June following site surveys at three candidate bases: Mountain Home AFB, Idaho; Moody AFB, Ga.; and Shaw AFB, S.C.
Completion of the environmental analysis marks the final step of the Air Force's formal basing process to determine the most suitable location for the contingent of A-29 aircraft and the associated instructors and students.
"Moody AFB was selected because of the availability of the airfield, airspace and suitable facilities. Additionally, the overall cost to complete the beddown in the timeframe required to initiate the training program made Moody the best choice," said Timothy K. Bridges, the deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations.
Moody AFB will support 20 A-29 aircraft, 17 Air Force instructor pilots, and 24 maintenance and support personnel to train a total of 30 Afghan pilots and 90 Afghan maintainers over the next four years. Under current plans, the aircraft may arrive at Moody AFB as early as September 2014 and the first Afghan trainees are expected to begin training in February 2015. The initial proposed commitment for this training mission entails a limited presence at the base from 2014 into 2018.
"Moody AFB is honored to host the Afghan A-29 flying training mission beginning later this year. We look forward to supporting this important mission that will continue to develop the capabilities of the Afghanistan Air Force," said Col. Chad Franks, the 23rd Wing commander.
Department of Defense officials have determined that a stateside training option is the most feasible option to deliver capability to the Afghan air force. All 20 aircraft are to be provided to the Afghan air force following this training.
The A-29 is a multi-role, fixed-wing aircraft that will provide the Afghan air force with an indigenous air-to-ground capability and aerial reconnaissance capabilities to support the country's counterinsurgency operations. The Department of the Air Force is purchasing these aircraft for the Afghan forces on behalf of Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan using DOD's Afghanistan Security Forces Fund appropriation.
Provision of the A-29 Light Air Support program will increase the Afghan air force's capacity in airborne self-defense for their government and citizens.