C-27 First Flight in Afghanistan
As one source underscored:
The ultimate goal for Afghanistan’s air force is the ability to support the Afghan National Army against al-Qaeda/ Taliban elements that launch raids within the country, or from across the border with Pakistan. Given Afghanistan’s rugged terrain and sparse infrastructure, however, a decision has been made to make tactical transportation of troops and supplies the Afghanistan National Army Air Corps’ top priority.
But as another source underscored, the USAF is travelling down a different path.
Only three weeks ago, the Air Force removed the C-27J from flight operations in Afghanistan. This move appears unrelated to the recent malfunction and was undertaken as part of the Air Force’s plan to cancel the C-27J project and retire the fleet of 21 aircraft currently in service because of budget restraints.
Cancelling the C-27J program and retiring the operating fleet has met with fierce opposition from the Air National Guard, legislators, and state governments. A proposal is now before both houses of the US Congress that, if enacted, would force the Air Force to discontinue all plans to retire the aircraft. The C-27J has been used as a cargo aircraft and troop transport in combat and for humanitarian missions in the United States.