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A Lithuanian delegation, right, studies Mi-17 Helicopter maintenance log books as they gather information on Aug. 28, 2010 in preparation for the development of their own advisory team to be stationed in Kandahar. The Lithuanian military has committed to a two year advisory partnership with the Combined Air Power Transition Force with the desire to bring their perspective to the development of the Afghan Air Force. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David Quillen/ RELEASED)
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NATO Air Training Command: More Countries, More Experience, More Solutions

Posted 9/18/2010   Updated 9/20/2010 Email story   Print story


by MC2 David Quillen
438th AEW PA

9/18/2010 - KABUL, Afghanistan -- The Combined Air Power Transition Force  was created in 2007 with the expressed goal of developing the then named Afghan National Army Air Corps into a legitimate operational force capable of promoting the Afghan governments agenda to its country and its international neighbors. 2010 saw the ANAAC make great strides towards that goal and transition into the now named Afghan Air Force. NATO recognized the strong Afghan efforts and felt it was time for CAPTF to undergo a similar face lift with a new name - NATO Air Training Command - Afghanistan - commemorating a larger commitment from more NATO countries to the AAF's development.

"We are excited about more of our coalition partners becoming part of the NATO Air Training Command - Afghanistan. Each team member brings a unique skill set to the mission here and this diversity is important" explains Lt. Col. Wayne McCaskill, Director of Operations, 438th Air Expeditionary Wing, NATC-A.

A variety of NATO countries have been assisting the United States in the development of the AAF over the past few years including Hungary, the Czech Republic, Croatia, and the United Kingdom.

Beginning as early as this past August and continuing through 2011 more countries are stepping up to the challenge, including Canada, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Latvia, and the Ukraine. The experienced servicemen and women from these countries will go a long way to bolstering the capabilities of the trainers who are already here as well as provide fresh new perspectives and solutions to uniquely Afghan dilemmas.

McCaskill describes it best. "While we are all interoperable we each have a slightly different way of operating and different levels of experience. This provides the Afghan Air Force with the best opportunity to find a method that is right for them, something they cannot get without a coalition team effort."

The trainers from these countries will be sent out to various regions in Afghanistan such as Shindand, Kandahar, Her'at, and Mazar-e Sharif to supplement and form Air Mentor Teams for the various aircraft in the AAF. The aircraft include Mi-17 and Mi-35 helicopters as well as An-32 and C-27 Spartan fixed wing transport s. The AMT's are responsible for the development of the Afghan units at each location with the goal of achieving effective interoperability with Afghan, Coalition and NATO International Security Assistant Force forces.

While the development of these Afghan units is very important to the overall stability and strength of Afghanistan, McCaskill explains how the assistance of the various NATO countries has another very important advantage.

"These partnerships also provide the foundation to build lasting strategic relations throughout the world which are key to Afghanistan becoming a safe and successful member of the global community."

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