Afghan Air Force Drops Laser-Guided Bomb for 1st Time in Combat

Di Vincenzo Santo*

(Da The Diplomat – 28 marzo 2018)

Kabul. The Afghan Air Force (AAF) used laser-guided bombs for the first time during a close air support mission in the province of Farah in southwestern Afghanistan on March 22 […] A squadron of AAF Embraer/Sierra Nevada Corporation A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft dropped a GBU-58 laser-guided bomb on a Taliban compound to support Afghan Army ground operations. […] The A-29 Super Tucano can carry up to two 500-pound (226 kilogram) conventional or smart freefall bombs, in addition to short-range air-to-air missiles, machine guns and rockets. 

The aircraft constitutes the mainstay of Afghan air power. The A-29 Super Tucano is a turboprop aircraft specifically designed for counter-insurgency operations and can be equipped with a wide array of bombs (including precision guided munitions) and machine guns […] The aircraft is fairly cheap to operate with one hour of flying time costing around $1,000. The U.S. Air Force has spent $427 million under its so-called Light Air Support/A-29 Afghanistan Program to supply the AAF with 20 A-29 aircraft by the end of this year.

The AAF currently operates 12 aircraft with seven additional A-29 stationed at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia for pilot training (One A-29 crashed during a test flight and still needs to be replaced).

The seven A-29s will be transferred to Afghanistan in the coming weeks. Each A-29 costs around $18 million.  In October 2017, the Pentagon ordered six additional A-29s for the AAF. […] The AAF currently consists of around 8,000 members and 129 aircraft in total.

A-29 Super Tucano

*Generale CA ris