By Program Executive Office for AviationAugust 22, 2018
The Program Executive Office for Aviation's Multi-National Aviation Special Project Office is celebrating its harvest season with the return of multiple Mi-17 helicopters to the Afghanistan Air Force.
In the span of one week, MASPO turned over four Mi-17 helicopters picked up from four different facilities across Eastern Europe and Afghanistan. Three of the Mi-17s were transported on a single Antonov An-124 cargo plane over the course of 40 hours moving between three different overhaul facilities in Europe before landing with the consolidated load July 29 in Kabul.
"You are directly supporting the National Defense Strategy with your efforts, through increasing lethality, strengthening alliances and being good stewards of the taxpayers' dollars," Chris O'Donnell, director of the Joint Rapid Acquisition Cell, Office of Undersecretary of Defense (Acquisition and Sustainment), said during a meeting at PEO Aviation headquarters that included MASPO personnel.
The overall effort brought together U.S. Army personnel and global teams from each contract facility to complete the deliveries, including Czech Republic's LOM Praha, Bulgaria's Avionams and Slovakia's LOTN. In addition, AAL Group completed the first in-country Mi-17 overhaul at Hamid Karzai
International Airport in Kabul with additional use of its facility in the United Arab Emirates.
The Mi-17 is a medium lift attack helicopter that performs particularly well in the hot weather and high altitude of Afghanistan. MASPO partnered with the both the NATO Support and Procurement Agency in Luxembourg and the Army Contracting Command-Redstone to accomplish Mi-17 overhauls and heavy repairs prior to the delivery.
"This delivery, out of our NATO partner countries, represents a nearly two year effort to complete a complex overhaul and heavy repair work on the aircraft," Col. John Vannoy, MASPO project manager, said. "The overhaul in Kabul was one of the quickest in MASPO history, completed in just over seven months -- two months ahead of schedule."
Both ACC-Redstone and MASPO managed this effort, successfully completing a proof-of-principle to see if a complex overhaul could be completed in Kabul without the airframe leaving the country.
"These deliveries return a much needed increase in air power and combat aerial lift capability to the AAF," Josh Kennedy, MASPO's deputy product manager for Mi-17, said.
MASPO, NSPA and ACC-Redstone stand ready to enhance partner nation capabilities for the Afghan Air Force's Mi-17 fleet.
In May, the MASPO and NATO Support and Procurement Agency teams delivered two Mi-17 aircraft out of overhaul and heavy repair from LOM Praha and Avionams. They continue to work together on contracts at all of the European facilities with eight aircraft still undergoing depot-level work.