Air Force officials announced June 25, Moody Air Force Base, Ga, was selected as the preferred alternative for the A-29 potential stateside Afghan training location, with Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, and Shaw Air Force Base, SC, being reasonable alternatives.
The U.S. Air Force followed its formal basing process to determine the most suitable location for a contingent of 20 A-29 aircraft for use in Afghan Air Force pilot and maintenance training.
The Department of the Air Force will purchase the aircraft for the Afghan Air Force, on behalf of Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, using the Department of Defense's Afghanistan Security Forces Fund appropriation.
According to DoD officials, the plan to implement this temporary stateside training option will ensure the Afghan Air Force receives the support and training necessary to safely and effectively employ a platform for conducting air interdiction and close air support operations within their country.
Moody was chosen as the preferred alternative, following site surveys conducted by the Air Force at three candidate bases. The installations were evaluated on a range of operational and infrastructure requirements and, upon completion of an environmental analysis, a final basing decision will be made.
"Moody AFB was selected as the preferred alternative because the airfield and airspace are available without disruption during the required timeframe, and suitable facilities are immediately available for the new occupants to move into," said Timothy K. Bridges, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air
Force for Installations. "Moody AFB is the lowest cost option."
The A-29 is a multi-role, fixed wing aircraft that provides the Afghan Air Force with an indigenous air interdiction, close air support capability, and aerial reconnaissance capabilities to support the country's counter insurgency operations. It is designed to operate in extremely rugged
terrain, and provides an ideal capability for this air force.
The provision of the A-29 Light Air Support program will increase the Afghan Air Force's capacity in airborne self-defense for its government and citizens.
The DoD has determined a stateside training option is the most feasible to deliver capability to the Afghan Air Force. Under current plans, the A-29 may arrive at the host base as early as September 2014 for initial cadre training, but the first Afghan trainees are expected to begin training in February 2015.
All aircraft are planned to be provided to the Afghan Air Force following this training.The initial proposed commitment for this training mission entails a limited presence at the base from 2014 into 2018.