Afghan Air Force A-29 Aircraft Flown by USAF Instructor Pilot Crashes During Training Flight

An Afghan Air Force A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft flown by a U.S. Air Force instructor pilot has crashed during a training flight on July 9.

According to a spokesman with U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A), the pilot was able to eject from the aircraft prior to the crash and was safely recovered. The spokesman said that the cause is under investigation adding that the preliminary indications are the aircraft crashed due to mechanical issues.

The aircraft crashed in Aska valley in Doshi district of Afghanistan’s northeastern Baghlan Province at approximately 11:30 AM local time. The valley is reportedly controlled by Taliban.

Afghanistan has ordered 26 A-29 Super Tucanos in total and had 25 of them in service (one was lost in crash in 2017). The aircraft are built by Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and Embraer in Jacksonville, Florida, and supplied to Afghanistan via the U.S. Air Force’s Light Air Support (LAS) program.

The first four Afghan Super Tucano aircraft arrived at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on 15 January 2016, followed by four more in July 2016 and four more in March 2017. In October 2017, the U.S. Air Force ordered six more, bringing the total to 26.

The AAF uses its A-29s for close-air attack, air interdiction, escort and armed reconnaissance missions.

An Afghan Air Force A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft flies over Kabul, Afghanistan, April 28, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Larry Reid Jr.)

In January this year, a U.S. Air Force E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) aircraft crashed in the Taliban-controlled territory in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province. The crash claimed the lives of two service members identified as Lt. Col. Paul K. Voss, 46, of Yigo, Guam; and Capt. Ryan S. Phaneuf, 30, of Hudson, New Hampshire.

A-29 Super Tucano

Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano, also named ALX or A-29, is a turboprop light attack, combat and reconnaissance aircraft designed and built by Brazil’s Embraer as a development of the Embraer EMB 312 Tucano. The aircraft can carry a wide variety of weapons, including precision-guided munitions, and was designed to be a low-cost system operated in low-threat environments.

In addition to its manufacture in Brazil, Embraer has set up a production line in the United States in conjunction with Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) for the A-29’s many export customers. The A-29 is the only light attack aircraft in the world with a U.S. Air Force Military Type Certificate.

The A-29 is a versatile and powerful turboprop aircraft and is known for its rugged and durable design, which allows it to perform operations from unimproved runways and at forward operating bases in austere environments and rugged terrain.

The aircraft has been selected by 15 air forces around the world including Afghanistan and Lebanon to deliver cost-effective close air support (CAS) and reconnaissance capabilities. Last month, the first A-29 for the Nigerian Air Force successfully completed its inaugural flight at the Jacksonville production facility.

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