July 7: The first G.222 transport aircraft for the restructured Afghan Air Force was rolled out at Alenia Aeronautica’s plant at Capodichino near Naples in Italy.
The US Air Force awarded a $287 million contract to Alenia North America in September 2008 for the refurbishment and updating of 18 G.222TCMs previously operated by the Italian Air Force, but now superseded by the C-27J. The aircraft will be transferred to the Afghan Air Force and Afghan National Army Air Corps (ANAAC) by the Combined Security Transition Command (CSTC) in Kabul. CSTC-Afghanistan is a joint service, coalition organisation with military personnel from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Poland, Albania, Germany, France and Romania, as well as contracted civilian advisors, mentors and trainers assisting the Government of Afghanistan in building the Afghanistan National Security Forces.
The 18 G.222s will be updated with new avionics, autopilot systems and ballistic protection. Giovanni Bertolone, CEO of Alenia Aeronautica, said: “The Afghan G.222 will be required to operate in difficult scenarios, in conditions of extreme altitude and temperature.” Deliveries will commence later this year and continue through to 2011.
As well as the G.222s, the Afghan Air Force has received four refurbished An-32 ‘Cline’ passenger/troop transporters through a US Foreign Military Sales programme, 19 Mil-17 ‘Hip-H’ helicopters funded by the UAE government and six former Czech Air Force Mi-24V ‘Hind-E’ attack helicopters.